Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 923

Corsi 923, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 923  
Name and quarry location: Alabastro a pecorella, from Aïn Tekbalet district, Oran, Algeria.  
Geological description: Compact banded travertine composed mainly of calcite heavily tinted red by hematite.  
Comments: Alabastro a pecorella means little sheep alabaster, but it is the richly coloured bushy growths of iron and manganese oxides that are more distinctive, sometimes giving an almost three dimensional effect. Alabastro a pecorella was exported to Rome from about the 2nd century AD onwards and is often found used and recycled in architecture and sculpture. It is not longer quarried today. The fashion for Algerian 'onyx marble' in the late 19th and 20th centuries was for the green or white translucent stone also found in substantial deposits around Oran.  
References: Borghini (1997) 149-150; Chafetz (1998); Corsi (1845) 134-135; Lazzarini (2002c) 244-245; Merrill (1903) 281-284; Mielsch (1985) 39, taf.3; Price (2007) 54-55; Watson (1916) 355-359  
Further information: Alabaster-travertine.pdf

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 4. Concretionary marbles; Species 1. Alabasters; i. Antique alabaster  
Corsi's text: 98.41/ S14.1 Alabastro antico. Marmor Alabastrum. Alabastro sardonica  

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