Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 909

Corsi 909, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 909  
Name and quarry location: probably Africano, from Sigacik (ancient Teos), Izmir Province, Turkey  
Geological description: Sheared, recrystallised limestone breccia with some relic crinoid debris and abundant stylolites.  
Comments: This sample has been recognised as Africano, rather than portasanta. The Africano quarries had long been lost when Corsi wrote his catalogue, and he was wrong in conjecturing that Chios was the source. The site of the ancient quarries, at Sigacik (ancient Teos) in Turkey, was only rediscovered in 1966 by Michael Ballance who found samples of the stone around a curious lake called Kara Göl. This turned out to be a flooded quarry. A second quarry was found at Beylerköy, about 15 km away. Large quantities of stone were extracted and used in Italy and northern Africa in the first and second centuries AD. The palate of colours of Africano is distinctive: mottled pink, red and green fragments in a matrix which is often dark grey or black.  
References: Borghini (1997) 133-135; Bostock (1855) bk 36, ch 8; Corsi (1825) 47-49; Corsi (1845) 99-100; Gnoli (1988) 174-178; Higgins (1996) 142; Lazzarini (2002c) 250-251; Mielsch (1985) 54-55, taf.13; Price (2007) 136-137; Ward-Perkins (1966)  
Further information: Portasanta.pdf

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 2. Veined marbles; Species 1. Porta Santa marble  
Corsi's text: 43.18/ S11.6 Marmo Porta Santa  

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