Norman Herz— 1995 Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology

Award Citation:

Norman Herz has made a great contribution to archaeological science through his studies of the ratios of light stable isotopes (particularly those of carbon and oxygen) in marble and limestone quarries of the Mediterranean. This technique has proven to be an invaluable aid to studies of the authenticity and provenance of classical statuary and architecture carved from these rocks. Herz's generosity and activism have brought together scholars from many disciplines and so enriched their research and all archaeology.

The ratios of the oxygen and carbon isotopes are fixed in limestone at formation. Isotopic ratios are less variable across a quarry field than is chemical composition, and hence are a more reliable indicator of source. Intensive sampling of quarries by Herz and others has shown some overlap of isotope ratios, so other techniques such as optical petrography and cathodeluminescence must often be employed to distinguish reliably between sources. But stable isotope ratio analysis remains the technique of first resort because it is inexpensive and causes the least damage to art objects. When Norm Herz first began these studies, he needed a sample equal to a pencil lead; now he needs only a volume equivalent to the pencil point.

Isotopic analysis has resolved some knotty archaeological problems. One puzzle has been how the sloping galleries on Paros could have produced all the sculpture putatively identified as Parian around the Mediterranean. Recently, other large opencast quarries with a distinct isotopic signature ("Paros-2") have been correlated with many of these samples, as for example the marble blocks at Ostia inscribed with mid-second century dates. Paros-2 is evidently the source for much of the Parian marble used in the High Empire: problem solved.

Norm Herz has carried out many analyses for field projects and museums. He proved the Antonia Minor portrait in the Fogg Art Museum to be a pastiche of unrelated Parian and Carrara statues. A Livia head in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek had an original Parian head but skullcap of Ephesian marble; capless, Livia became Agrippina the Elder. The unique Jonah statuettes in the Cleveland Museum of Art are of Dokimeion white marble, which gives an archaeological basis for the observed stylistic kinship with Dokimeion sarcophagi. Recently Norm has studied the Getty kouros, with results well known to many here.

Herz's interest in archaeology began early in his career. One paper, coauthored with the young Colin Renfrew, attacked visual identification of Aegean marbles and drew a heated response from Bernard Ashmole. In the early 1970s Norm Herz began work on stable isotopes, and in 1984 he established the Center for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Georgia. His data base of quarry samples is the largest compiled, but its influence outpaces its size because he shares it freely.

In 1988 Norm organized a conference that attracted geologists, chemists and physicists, museum curators and conservators, historians, art historians, and archaeologists. Here was born ASMOSIA (Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity), with subsequent meetings held at Lou vain (Belgium) in 1990, Athens (1993), and Bordeaux (1995). The publications are now central to marble studies, and between meetings Norm keeps the information flowing with a witty newsletter. Thus, Norm's influence extends far beyond his own research. For this record of individual accomplishment, service, and inspiration to others, the AlA is proud to confer the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology upon Norman Herz.

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