Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 223

Corsi 223, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 223  
Name and quarry location: Lumachella antica, 'astracane dorato', from Henchir al Kasbat (the ancient Thuburbo Maius), Tunisia  
Geological description: Fossiliferous limestone with abundant recrystallised/spar replaced bivalves and gastropods in a cream-coloured micrite and patchily calcarenite matrix.  
Comments: Astracane was thought to be named after the Russian city of Astrakhan on the shores of the Caspian Sea, or after the Syrian town of Castracani; or possibly even after the curly lambs fleece known in the Middle East as astrakhan. In fact the stone known to the ancients came from the ancient city of Thuburbo Maius, now called Henchir Kasbat in Tunisia. It should not be confused with the 'astracane' from India, which is a vibrant yellow lumachella called Jaisalmer marble, that comes from Jaisalmer in Rajputana, India. Both stones are described and illustrated by Price (2007).  
References: Borghini (1997) 201; Corsi (1845) 117-118; Gnoli (1988) 203-205; Mielsch (1985) 41, taf.4; Price (2007) 160  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 3. Lumachellas; i. Ancient lumachellas  
Corsi's text: 77.9 Lumachella antica. Marmor Conchyte. Astracane dorato... si trova ne'dintorni di Astracan... [o] la Città di Agra nell'India sia la patria...  

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