Geochemical methods for sourcing lava paving stones from the Roman roads of Central Italy

M. Worthing, L. Bosworth, J. Bannister, R. Laurence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


This paper documents the results of in situ analysis of 306 lava paving stones and 74 possible source rocks using pXRF. Data were collected from sites both in the city of Rome—on major roads beyond the city (including the Viae Flaminia, Cassia, Clodia, Praenestina and Appia)—and in the city of Ostia. Comparison of the pXRF data with lava compositional data from the geological literature allows broad identification of possible sources. The results point to quite distinctive patterns of exploitation for the city of Rome and Ostia, utilizing the Alban Hills lava flows, and the roads of the middle Tiber Valley, drawing on lava flows associated with the Vico and Sabatini volcanoes. The results show the potential of pXRF to produce data to elucidate the exploitation of lava flows for paving the Roman roads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1017
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Early online date14 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • ancient Roman paving stones
  • Roman roads
  • material provenance
  • volcanic rocks
  • trace elements
  • pXRF
  • HHpXRF


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