Friday, March 12, 2010

History of Masonry

A discussion of masonry should begin at the beginning. As long as shelter has been a concern for mankind, masonry has been part of the solution. Some of the the earliest shelters involved stone, using caves as habitable enclosures. This even pre-dates mankind as a species.

Neanderthal caves are known throughout Europe. Here is an interesting article on the neanderthal Vindija cave in Croatia. As humans advanced as a species, shelters began to move from caves to built structures. Contemporary scientific methods and engineering analysis provide a deeper understanding of early masonry structures.

Masonry developed across the "ancient world" as construction techniques developed from experience, trial & error, and the flash of human genius which produces great art and architecture. This is such a rich field of study that I'll be coming back to it repeatedly on this blog.

Greek and Roman architecture borrowed on the knowledge of those who came before them and developed masonry to a high art.

After the Roman Empire, Christian evangelists spread religion from its Mediterranean cradle to northern Europe. The hybridization of Mediterranean masonry architecture with the Scandinavian longhouse led eventually to the Gothic style. This is where we'll pick up next.

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