History of Dry Stone Construction

What is dry stone construction?

Dry stone construction is a completely natural structure from start to finish.  It is one of the oldest building techniques in the world.  Dry stone construction is a building method using no mortar between the stones and instead uses gravity and skilled placement,” invisible glue I can sense in the stones conversations of squeaks and rumbles…a hollow sound means a void needs to be filled, a solid fit is secured with the sound of a bolt being thrown.”

Craftsmen have quarried, hauled, stacked, shaped, laid, set, shimmed, and carved stone with a breadth of craft and ingenuity that is both awe inspiring and humbling.  

African tribes knew the construction technique as early as 1350 to 1500 AD. In fifteenth century Peru, Incas made use of otherwise unusable slopes by dry stone walling to create terraces.  Dry stonewalls dominate the traditional British landscape. The variety of walls is diverse, each one illustrating the type of stone local to that area with a style of wall best suited to that particular stone. Originally built as field boundary walls at the beginning of the 19th century, many of these walls still stand today. The fact that you can build a wall from nothing more than the materials around you, and that this wall can be strong enough to survive 100 years is nothing short of remarkable! 

The increasing appreciation of the landscape and heritage value of dry stone walls has led to a renaissance of the ancient craft, helped, in no small part, by their sturdiness and consequent long, low maintenance lifetimes.