Types of Quarries
The Excavation
Lifting Machines

The excavation of the stones

The technique used to excavate the marble had few differences in the three periods studied.

In Ancient Greece, tools used for the excavation of the marble in the quarries were wooden, bronze and iron wedges. The first step was to draw the shape on the surface of the natural marble and then cut a deep channel around the three sides, approximately 15 to 20 inches wide. On the fourth side, which is open, they dig holes for the wedges.

During the Archaic Period, the same tools were used and an additional tool was used as well. The chisel, was used to help hitting the part between the wedges. So, the crystal of the marble is being free easier and the cutting is almost straight. This is the technique that we see at the ancient quarries of Thassos, like Alyki, Fanari, Acropolis as well as at Naxo and Paro and at one example in Evoia.

The Hellenistic and Roman periods, the excavation technique becomes simpler, because they use wedges at the free side of the marble, which they are releasing from the mountain. For the big masses, that they didn't need to be straight and with big accuracy, the number of the wedges is smaller. We have this example at Amathounta (Cyprus), when the closed port is being built. At the Byzantine Empire the use chisels. They hit the chisel at the little holes, each one of them abstain 8 inches from the other, and they do it so many times, until the marble is free from it's natural position. Of course before that they enter deeply into the canal around the other sides.

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