Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 354

Corsi 354, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

side view of stone 354

side view of stone 354, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 354  
Name and quarry location: Alabastro a tartaruga, from Montauto, Castelfiorentino, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy or perhaps Iano di Montaione, Florence, Tuscany, Italy  
Geological description: Banded compact travertine, the very fine acicular calcite crystals giving a particularly compact structure. Note white 'fractures' appear to be strings of minute gas inclusions.  
Comments: Montauto, in Tuscany, was one of the main sources of Italian compact travertine in the early 19th century, included in a list of ornamental stones and their values in Rome given by Rees (1819). Modern authorities have recognised Corsi's samples as alabastro a tartaruga (alabastro tartarugato), and have said it comes from Iano, outside Montaione in Tuscany. Stone quarried in ancient times was reused by the scalpellini of Rome, who gave it the name 'tartarugata' for its tortoiseshell-like markings. Quarries at Iano were reopened after the second world war for a short time. We are not sure which location was the source of this specimen.  
References: Borghini (1997) 151; Corsi (1845) 133; Dallan (1969) 46, 62-63; Mielsch (1985) 39, taf.2; Price (2007) 52; Rees (1819)  
Further information: Alabaster-travertine.pdf

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 4. Concretionary marbles; Species 1. Alabasters; ii. Italian alabasters  
Corsi's text: 101.21 Alabastro di Montauto sul confine Toscano  

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