Table of Contents
International Journal of Mineralogy
Volume 2014, Article ID 217916, 11 pages
Research Article

A New Approach for Provenance Studies of Archaeological Finds: Inferences from Trace Elements in Carbonate Minerals of Alpine White Marbles by a Bench-to-Top μ-XRF Spectrometer

1CNR-IGG Via Valperga Caluso, 35 I-10123 Torino, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Via Valperga Caluso, 35 I-10123 Torino, Italy

Received 4 October 2013; Accepted 15 December 2013; Published 6 February 2014

Academic Editor: Basilios Tsikouras

Copyright © 2014 Gloria Vaggelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The metamorphic rocks outcropping in the Western Alps are characterised by a great variety of white marbles which have been used since the antiquity. This variety mostly includes nine historical Piedmont white marbles (Ornavasso, Candoglia, Crevola, Pont Canavese, Foresto, Chianocco, Prali, Brossasco, and Garessio marbles) coming from well-known quarry sites and belonging to different metamorphic geological units of the Western Alps. The petrographical, minerochemical, and C–O isotopic data of these white marbles have been integrated with CaO and trace element (Fe, Mn, and Sr) concentration determined on single crystals of carbonate minerals (i.e., calcite and/or dolomite) by means of a bench-to-top µ-XRF spectrometer. Principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis were performed on a data set of 178 observations containing CaO, Fe, Mn, and Sr concentration as well as the maximum grain size (MGS), δ18O and δ13C. The use of only five selected variables (CaO, Fe, Mn, Sr, and δ18O) has provided the correct allocation of each individual observation to its relevant class. Therefore, this approach based mostly on a noninvasive µ-XRF determination will be useful to define the provenance of unknown marbles of alpine origin used in antiquity for cultural heritage.