ASMOSIA’s Mission Statement

ASMOSIA’s mission is to promote the exchange of knowledge among its members in all fields related to the study of marble and other stones of art historical or archaeological interest. This exchange is accomplished through electronic communications, biannual meetings of the membership, and publication of the meeting proceedings.

Image of: Split, Croatia

ASMOSIA XI International Conference
May 18-22, 2015
Split Croatia

The Executive Committee of ASMOSIA together with the Organizing Committee, has the pleasure of inviting scholars and students to participate in the XI International Conference of the Association, which will be held in Split (Croatia).

Call for Papers (PDF-document)
Conference Website

June 3, 2014

President’s Remarks

I am very happy to address all of you through our new website which I hope it will be providing updated information about our Association and its activities and will become a new platform for communication between our members.

It has been two years since our last gathering, the 10th ASMOSIA conference in Rome, of which we have the best memories. The City, the organization, the presentations and the excursions made it unforgettable, as it was also the case with our previous meetings, each one having its own uniqueness. The Proceedings of the Rome meeting are close to completion and printing, thanks to the hard efforts of Patricio Pensabene and his colleagues.

Our Conferences organized every 2.5 to 3 years give us the opportunity to meet each other and exchange views, ideas and collaborations. Our members, having now become almost like a family, look very much forward to these meetings that apart from their scholarly interest are considered as a warm reunion of friends and colleagues, a refreshing and regenerating event..
Our next meeting, ASMOSIA XI conference, is going to take place in Split, Croatia on 19-22 May 2015. More information and details about it you can find in the announcement provided by the organizers on our webpage. It is expected to be a very warm and egnaging conference, both in terms of presentations and atmosphere, being organized in the old Diocletian Palace in the old city of Split. I hope to see you all there.

In 2013 ASMOSIA suffered the loss of Norman Herz, one of the founders of our Association, our first President, and certainly the person that inspired a lot of us to be involved in the development and applications of scientific techniques for marble provenance determination. Norm was a kind and giving person and has offered a lot to our Association. In order to honour his memory, the Executive Committee of ASMOSIA has decided to name the two prizes the Association offers to the best student posters in every meeting as the Norman Herz prizes for best student posters.

A difficult task that we are exploring already for many years but without concrete results yet is finding the most suitable arrangement at a reasonable cost for the publication of our conference proceedings in a systematic way by either an established journal or as a separate continuous series under the name of ASMOSIA. The investigation for the best possible solution and negotiations with various publishers is still under progress.

With best wishes,
Yannis Maniatis

In Memoriam: Norman Herz (1923-2013)

Professor Emeritus Norman Herz died on May 28, 2013 in Athens, Georgia.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Herz developed his life-long love and making geology relevant in our modern society.  Within these pursuits, Herz became an early pioneer in integrating geologic practices and ways of seeing into archaeology.

Herz’s first foray into archaeological geology came after he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army’s Corps of Engineers and Air Force in 1945 and later earned his Ph.D. in Geology from John Hopkins University.  Working in Greece in the early 1950s with W. K. Pritchett, Herz recognized that the contemporary methods of marble identification of ancient monuments and statuary were too subjective and often incorrect.  From this experience, he set out on a lifetime’s worth of research to develop a quantitative method to distinguish between the different white marble sources from throughout the Mediterranean that were used in antiquity.

Upon returning to the United States, Herz was employed by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) as an economic geologist.  Six of those years Herz spent in Brazil where he was a research scientist studying the country’s mineral deposits.  Not only did he learn the Portuguese language, he made a significant impact within the Brazilian scientific community. This is reflected by his election in 1981 as a Foreign Associate of the Sao Paolo State Academy of Science followed by his election in 1991 as a Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Upon his retirement from the USGS, Herz was hired by the University of Georgia to Chair their Geology Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.  From the 1970s on, Herz focused on distinguishing the white marble quarries of the Mediterranean.  He made numerous trips to Greece, Italy and Turkey to collect a comparative marble database of all the important ancient quarries.  He subjected the samples to phsyiochemcial analyses and, building on the preliminary work of the Gales at Oxford,  found that the stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen of the complex carbonate ion provided a very good separation between many of the marble types.  Herz’s resultant database, first published in 1985, proved very successful at answering many important questions regarding the use, trade and quarrying of this important ancient resource.  Herz consulted on numerous projects including studying the marble sources of various temples and monuments at sites such as ancient Olympia, Bassai, the Athenian Agora, and Delos. He worked closely on collections from the British Museum in London, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, The National Gallery in Washington DC and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He also performed critical analysis on the famous Getty Kouros.  Herz’s work has been published in over 200 articles.

With the growing interest in marble studies, in 1988 Herz in collaboration with other founding members, established the Association for the Study of Marbles and Other Stones used in Antiquity (ASMOSIA).  Along with his colleague Marc Waelkens, Herz convened a NATO-sponsored Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) in Tuscany, Italy – the first of many ASMOSIA meetings. This was the first ARW devoted to the Archaeological Sciences in the International Scientific Programmes of NATO. ASMOSIA’s success at integrating archaeologists and art historians with geologists and other physical scientists is demonstrated by its 10 international conferences, each producing a published volume that can be found in archaeology and Classics libraries from around the world.  Herz was the first President of ASMOSIA and remained at that position until he stepped down in 2000 at which time he was named Honoree President.

Herz’s dedication and commitment to archaeology was well recognized.  In 1985, the American Journal of Archaeology celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. In a review of the stewardship of Ashton Sanborn as editor, only two articles were cited as “significant events”. One was the aforementioned paper by Herz and Pritchett in 1953 which “raised issues that have continued to be of interest to scholars in many specialties, and only recently have sophisticated laboratory techniques begun to answer some of the vexed questions of marble identification.” Four years later, in the January-February special issue of Archaeology dedicated to “Archaeology in the 21st Century,” George F. Bass, then president of Archaeological Institute of America, further recognized that Herz was the “first to apply his geologic knowledge to archaeological problems.” Herz’s international reputation was further enhanced where, in 1988, he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 18th International Symposium of the International Association of Engineering Geology where the focus of the conference was on the engineering geology of ancient works, monuments and historical sites. In 1995 the classical archaeology community recognized Herz’s contributions to archaeology by awarding him the prestigious Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology of the Archaeological Institute of America.  And in 2007, the Archaeological Division of the Geological Society of America awarded Herz the Rapp Award for Archaeological Geology.

Herz will be remembered as an excellent and caring professor and mentor who provided his students with a keen sense of how geology can contribute to our understanding of the cultural past.  Herz broke down many ingrained barriers in Classical archaeology that permitted aspects of the “new” archaeology to take root in the Mediterranean.  ASMOISA is very much a part of Herz’s legacy.

Scott Pike


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