Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 679

Corsi 679, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 679  
Name and quarry location: Breccia verde d'Egitto, Breccia universale, from Wadi Hammamat, Eastern Desert, Egypt  
Geological description: Metaconglomerate of metamorphic and igneous clasts (banded tuff, serpentinite, etc) in a sheared chloritised or epidotised matrix. Note that granitic clasts commonly also occcur in this stone, see 969.  
Comments: The famous breccia verde d'Egitto is also known as breccia universale or universal breccia because it contains clasts of so many different rock types. The ancient Romans called it lapis hecatontalithos, meaning 'stone of a hundred stones', again alluding to its wide variety of constituents. Two quarries have been found at Wadi Hammamat, the one further west supplied the stone that includes clasts of pink granite (see no.969). The stone was quarried in ancient Egyptian times and the first three centuries AD, and has been extensively recycled. Some quarrying took place at nearby Wadi Fawakhir in 1988, supplying the stone known commercially as breccia Fawakhir.  
References: Borghini (1997) 195; Corsi (1845) 198-200; Lazzarini (2002c) 238-240; Harrell (2002a); Harrell (2010a); Mielsch (1985) 64, taf.21; Price (2007) 194  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 10. Pudding-stones; i. Antique pudding-stones  
Corsi's text: 162.1 Breccia verde d'Egitto. breccia universale. Le antche cave erano nell' alto Egitto, e precisamente nella valle di Quosseyr  

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