EGU24-1188, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Stone decay in the underwater environment: examples from Mediterranean archaeological sites

Luigi Germinario1, Isabella Moro2,3, Fabio Crocetta3, Patrizia Tomasin4, Emanuela Moschin2, Franca Cibecchini5, Stella Demesticha6, Enrico Gallocchio7, Judith Gatt6,8, and Claudio Mazzoli1
Luigi Germinario et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Padova, Italy (
  • 2Department of Biology, University of Padova, Italy
  • 3Department of Integrated Marine Ecology, Zoological Station Anton Dohrn, Italy
  • 4ICMATE, CNR, Italy
  • 5DRASSM, Ministry of Culture, France
  • 6Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  • 7Archaeological Park Campi Flegrei, Ministry of Culture, Italy
  • 8Centre Camille Jullian, Aix-Marseille University, France

This contribution presents one of the research directions of the project WATERISKULT (, involving the decay of underwater archaeological sites, in particular of submerged structures and artifacts made of stone. The pilot sites of this project are located in the western, central, and eastern Mediterranean Sea, and include the Roman complex of Baia in Italy, the Hellenistic harbor of Amathus in Cyprus, and the Roman port structures of Anse des Laurons in France. Diving and sampling campaigns were organized therein in the first half of 2023, and were followed by laboratory analyses that explored the state of conservation of different archaeological stone materials (limestones, marbles, tuffs, sandstones, etc.). Microscopic techniques were applied for investigating the stone composition, biofouling, and chemical alteration, observing the surface and stratigraphic features of the sampled materials. Moreover, 3D morphometric techniques allowed for the quantification of the physical damage of the archaeological surfaces. The analytical results were combined with site-specific topographic information collected during the dives and environmental data provided by seawater monitoring agencies. In that way, the interaction between ancient materials and the underwater environment was explored, discussing the relationship between deterioration and a range of different stone and seawater properties.

How to cite: Germinario, L., Moro, I., Crocetta, F., Tomasin, P., Moschin, E., Cibecchini, F., Demesticha, S., Gallocchio, E., Gatt, J., and Mazzoli, C.: Stone decay in the underwater environment: examples from Mediterranean archaeological sites, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1188,, 2024.