The Historical Importance and Architectonic Relevance of the “Extinct” Arrábida Breccia

José Carlos Kullberg, António Prego

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Arrábida Breccia is a type of chromatic rock with a very unusual texture, appearing only in the current geographical area of the Natural Park of Arrábida, and thus, its extraction is definitively finished. Due to its petrographic nature, it is very sensitive to weathering, particularly to rainwater. It has had numerous uses for at least 2000 years since the occupation of Iberia by the Romans, and which evolved over time from exterior to interior structures. Since the beginning of the Baroque, it is almost exclusively linked to the interior decorative arts, in polished finishing. Its use had a greater expression linked to the Gothic-Manueline style, closely associated with the epic Portuguese, roughly in the transition in fifteenth to sixteenth centuries particularly during the reign of King Manuel I who would have particular preference for this rock. Its use is characterised by being quite confined, especially as the resource has always been relatively scarce regarding known deposits. Although most of the known applications are located in Portugal, especially in the regions of Setúbal and Lisbon, there are also examples of its application in other countries, namely in the Mediterranean Europe and Brazil, largely in buildings classified as of National Interest and in building classified as World Heritage or Architectural Heritage (UNESCO). Due to the above facts, the need to preserve some extracted but not used blocks is also discussed in this work both for the purposes of preservation and restoration of monuments as well as the valuation of the old mines for educational and recreational purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-111
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019
Event35th International Geological Congress (IGC) - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 27 Aug 20164 Sep 2016


  • Architectural heritage
  • Arrábida Breccia
  • Manueline style
  • Portugal
  • Preservation


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