Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 403

Corsi 403, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 403  
Name and quarry location: Breccia traccagnina, brecha da Arrábida, from Siera di Arrábida, Setúbal, Portugal  
Geological description: Polymict limestone conglomerate  
Comments: The provenances of breccia traccagnina (so-called 'harlequin breccias') used in ancient times are generally not known. Breccias can occur in quite small deposits which may have been worked out. This stone however is almost certainly brecha da Arrábida from Siera di Arrábida, Setúbal, Portugal (Price, 2007), which was used for ornamental purposes in Portugal as early as the 17th century. Quarrying ceased in the late 20th century. As Portugal was also occupied by the ancient Romans, it is probable that any ancient quarries have been obliterated, but Corsi's specimen did indeed come from the ruins of Rome.  
References: Corsi (1845) 146-147; Dubarry de Lassale (2000) 110-111; Price (2007) 149  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 5. Breccias; i. Antique Breccias  
Corsi's text: 112.15 Breccia traccagnina  

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