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Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a w ...

building
s, structures, and
sculpture ''lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu'' from Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian limestone Neo-Assyrian Period, c. 721–705 BCE ''Lama'', ''Lamma'' or ''Lamassu'' (Cuneiform: , ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: lammař; late ...

sculpture
using
stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, th ...
as the primary material. It is one of the oldest activities and professions in human history. Many of the long-lasting, ancient
shelter Shelter often refers to: * Shelter (building), a basic architectural structure or building that provides cover * Animal shelter, a facility that houses homeless, lost, or abandoned animals; mostly dogs and cats * Homeless shelter, a temporary resid ...
s,
temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

temple
s,
monument is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end o ...

monument
s,
artifactArtifact, or artefact, may refer to: Science and technology *Artifact (error) In natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that ...
s,
fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ( ...

fortification
s,
road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: carriageways), each with one or more lanes and any ...

road
s,
bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the ...

bridge
s, and entire
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...

cities
were built of stone. Famous works of stonemasonry include the
Egyptian pyramids The Egyptian pyramids are ancient Pyramid (geometry), pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the coun ...
, the
Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal (; , ), is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Empire, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan () to house the tomb of his favourite wi ...

Taj Mahal
,
Cusco's Incan Wall
Cusco's Incan Wall
,
Easter Island Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a continent ...

Easter Island
's
statues A statue is a free-standing sculpture in which the realistic, full-length figures of persons or animals are carved or cast Cast may refer to: Music * Cast (band) Cast are an English indie rock band formed in Liverpool Liverpool i ...

statues
,
Angkor Wat Angkor Wat (; km, អង្គរវត្ត "Temple city/city of temples") is the largest religious structure (temple complex) in the world by land area, measuring , located in Cambodia. Originally constructed as a personal mausoleum for t ...

Angkor Wat
,
Borobudur Borobudur, also transcribed Barabudur ( id, Candi Borobudur, jv, ꦕꦤ꧀ꦝꦶꦧꦫꦧꦸꦝꦸꦂ, Candhi Barabudhur) is a 7th-century Mahayana Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, phil ...

Borobudur
,
Tihuanaco Tiwanaku ( es, Tiahuanaco or ) is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia near Lake Titicaca and one of the largest sites in South America. Surface remains currently cover around 4 square kilometers and include decorated ceramics, mo ...
,
Tenochtitlan Tenochtitlan ( nah, Tenōchtitlan ; es, Tenochtitlán), also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan ( nah, Mēxihco Tenōchtitlan ; es, México-Tenochtitlán), was a large Mexica ''altepetl'' in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The exact ...

Tenochtitlan
,
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
, the
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
,
Stonehenge Stonehenge is a prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Ar ...

Stonehenge
, the
Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against Eurasian nomads, various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Step ...

Great Wall of China
, and
Chartres Cathedral Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (french: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from ...

Chartres Cathedral
.


Definition

Masonry is the craft of shaping rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes, at times simple, but some of considerable complexity, and then arranging the resulting stones, often together with
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
, to form structures. *Quarrymen split sheets of rock, and extract the resulting blocks of stone from the ground. *Sawyers cut these rough blocks into cuboids, to required size with diamond-tipped saws. The resulting block if ordered for a specific component is known as sawn six sides (SSS). *Banker masons are workshop-based, and specialize in working the stones into the shapes required by a building's design, this set out on templets and a bed mould. They can produce anything from stones with simple
chamfer A chamfer or is a transitional edge between two faces of an object. Sometimes defined as a form of bevel, it is often created at a 45° angle between two adjoining right-angled faces. Chamfers are frequently used in machining, carpentry, fur ...

chamfer
s to
tracery Tracery is an architectural upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734 ...
windows, detailed mouldings and the more classical architectural building masonry. When working a stone from a sawn block, the mason ensures that the stone is bedded in the right way, so the finished work sits in the building in the same orientation as it was formed on the ground. Occasionally though some stones need to be oriented correctly for the application; this includes voussoirs, jambs, copings, and cornices. The basic tools, methods and skills of the banker mason have existed as a trade for thousands of years. *Carvers cross the line from craft to art, and use their artistic ability to carve stone into foliage, figures, animals or abstract designs. *Fixer masons specialize in the fixing of stones onto buildings, using lifting tackle, and traditional lime mortars and grouts. Sometimes modern cements, mastics, and epoxy resins are used, usually on specialist applications such as stone cladding. Metal fixings, from simple dowels and cramps to specialised single application fixings, are also used. The precise tolerances necessary make this a highly skilled job. *Memorial masons or monumental masons carve gravestones and inscriptions. The modern stonemason undergoes comprehensive training, both in the classroom and in the working environment. Hands-on skill is complemented by an intimate knowledge of each stone type, its application, and best uses, and how to work and fix each stone in place. The mason may be skilled and competent to carry out one or all of the various branches of stonemasonry. In some areas, the trend is towards specialization, in other areas towards adaptability.


Types of stone

Stonemasons use all types of natural stone:
igneous Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
,
metamorphic Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the mineral ...
and
sedimentary Sedimentary rocks are types of rock (geology), rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic matter, organic particles at Earth#Surface, Earth's surface, followed by cementation (geology), cementation. Sedimentatio ...

sedimentary
; while some also use
artificial stone Artificial stone is a name for various synthetic stone products produced from the 18th century onward. Uses include statuary, architectural details, fencing and rails, building construction, civil engineering work, and industrial applications such ...
as well.


Igneous stones

*
Granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phaneritic A phanerite is an igneous rock Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Lat ...

Granite
is one of the hardest stones, and requires such different techniques to sedimentary stones that it is virtually a separate trade. With great persistence, simple mouldings can and have been carved from granite, for example in many
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...

Cornish
churches and in the city of
Aberdeen Aberdeen (; sco, Aiberdeen, ; gd, Obar Dheathain ; la, Aberdonia) is a city in northeast Scotland. It is the List of towns and cities in Scotland by population, third most populous city in Scotland, one of Scotland's 32 Local government in ...

Aberdeen
. Generally, however, it is used for purposes that require its strength and durability, such as kerbstones, countertops, flooring, and breakwaters. *Igneous stone ranges from very soft rocks such as
pumice Pumice (), called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a formed from erupted from a . In other words, it differs from other by being of origin. ...

pumice
and
scoria Scoria is a highly , dark-colored that may or may not contain crystals (s). It is typically dark in color (generally dark brown, black or purplish-red), and ic or in composition. Scoria is relatively low in as a result of its numerous macros ...
to somewhat harder rocks such as
tuff Tuff is a type of Rock (geology), rock made of volcanic ash ejected from a Volcano, vent during a volcanic eruption. Following ejection and deposition, the ash is lithified into a solid rock. Rock that contains greater than 75% ash is consider ...

tuff
to the hardest rocks such as granite and
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extrusi ...

basalt
.


Metamorphic

*
Marble Marble is a metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic representation of ...

Marble
is a fine, easily worked stone, that comes in various colours, but mainly white. It has traditionally been used for carving statues, and for facings of many Byzantine and Italian Renaissance buildings. Prominent Greek sculptors, such as Antenor (6th century BC), Phidias and Critias (5th century BC), Praxiteles (4th century BC) and others used mainly the marble of
Paros Paros (; el, Πάρος; : ''Paro'') is a Greek island in the central . One of the island group, it lies to the west of , from which it is separated by a channel about wide. It lies approximately south-east of . The of Paros includes numero ...
and
Thassos Thasos or Thassos ( el, Θάσος, ''Thásos'') is a Greek island, geographically part of the North Aegean Sea, but administratively part of the Kavala regional unit, Macedonia. It is the northernmost major Greek island, and 12th largest by ar ...
islands, and the whitest and brightest of all (although not the finest), the
Pentelikon Mount Pentelicus or Pentelikon (, or ) is a mountain in Attica (region), Attica, Greece, situated northeast of Athens and southwest of Marathon, Greece, Marathon. Its highest point is the peak ''Pyrgari'', with an elevation of 1,109 m. The mo ...
marble. Their work was preceded by older sculptors from Mesopotamia and Egypt, but the Greeks were unmatched in plasticity and realistic (re)presentation, either of Gods (Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Zeus, etc.), or humans (Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Phryne, etc.). The famous
Acropolis of Athens The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrati ...

Acropolis of Athens
is said to be constructed using the Pentelicon marble. The traditional home of the marble industry is the area around
Carrara Carrara ( , ; ) is a city and ''comune'' in Tuscany, in central Italy, of the province of Massa and Carrara, and notable for the white or blue-grey marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some Boxing the compass, west-northwest of ...

Carrara
in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
, from where a bright and fine, whitish marble is extracted in vast quantities. *
Slate Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism uprigh ...

Slate
is a popular choice of stone for memorials and inscriptions, as its fine grain and hardness means it leaves details very sharp. Its tendency to split into thin plates has also made it a popular roofing material.


Sedimentary

Many of the world's most famous buildings have been built of sedimentary stone, from
Durham Cathedral The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, commonly known as Durham Cathedral and home of the Shrine of St Cuthbert, is a cathedral A cathedral is a church (building), church that contains the ...

Durham Cathedral
to
St Peter's
St Peter's
in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
. There are two main types of sedimentary stone used in masonry work,
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
s and
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic ' ...

sandstone
s. Examples of limestones include
Bath Bath may refer to: * Bathing, immersion in a fluid ** Bathtub, a large open container for water, in which a person may wash their body ** Public bathing, a public place where people bathe * Thermae, ancient Roman public bathing facilities Plac ...
and Portland stone.
Yorkstone Yorkstone or York stone is a variety of sandstone, specifically from quarries in Yorkshire that have been worked since mediaeval times. Yorkstone is a tight grained, Carboniferous sedimentary rock. The stone consists of quartz, mica, feldspar ...
and
Sydney sandstone Sydney sandstone is the common name for Sydney Basin Hawkesbury Sandstone, one variety of which is historically known as Yellowblock, and also as "yellow gold" a sedimentary rock named after the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney, where this s ...
are the most commonly used sandstone.


Types

Types of stonemasonry are: ;Fixer masons: This type of masons have specialized into fixing the stones onto the buildings. They might do this with grouts, mortars, and lifting tackle. They might also use things like single application specialized fixings, simple cramps, and dowels as well as stone cladding with things like epoxy resins, mastics, and modern cements. ;Memorial masons: These are the masons that make headstones and carve the inscriptions on them. Today's stonemasons undergo training that is quite comprehensive and is done both in the work environment and in the classroom. It isn't enough to have hands-on skill anymore. One must also have knowledge of the types of stones as well as its best uses and how to work it as well as how to fix it in place. ;Rubble masonry: When roughly dressed stones are laid in a mortar the result is a stone
rubble masonry Rubble masonry is rough, uneven building stone set in mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a t ...
. ;Ashlar masonry: Stone masonry using dressed (cut) stones is known as
ashlar Ashlar () is finely dressed (cut, worked) stone, either an individual that has been worked until squared, or a structure built from such stones. Ashlar is the finest stone unit, generally rectangular , mentioned by as , or less frequently ...

ashlar
masonry. ;Stone veneer: Stone veneer is used as a protective and decorative covering for interior or exterior walls and surfaces. The veneer is typically 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick and must weigh less than 15 lb per square foot (73 kg m−2) so that no additional structural supports are required. The structural wall is put up first, and thin, flat stones are mortared onto the face of the wall. Metal tabs in the structural wall are mortared between the stones to tie everything together, to prevent the stonework from separating from the wall. ;Slipform stonemasonry:
Slipform stonemasonrySlipform stonemasonry is a method for making a reinforced concrete Reinforced concrete (RC), also called reinforced cement concrete (RCC), is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low ultimate tensile strength, tensile strength and d ...
is a method for making stone walls with the aid of formwork to contain the rocks and mortar while keeping the walls straight. Short forms, up to two feet tall, are placed on both sides of the wall to serve as a guide for the stonework. Stones are placed inside the forms with the good faces against the formwork. Concrete is poured behind the rocks. Rebar is added for strength, to make a wall that is approximately half reinforced concrete and half stonework. The wall can be faced with stone on one side or both sides.Elpel, Thomas J
"Stone Masonry Construction: A Brief Overview"
Accessed October 10, 2018.


Training

Traditionally medieval stonemasons served a seven-year
apprenticeship An apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation of practitioners of a trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a ...

apprenticeship
. A similar system still operates today. A modern apprenticeship lasts three years. This combines on-site learning through personal experience, the experience of the tradesmen, and college work where apprentices are given an overall experience of the building, hewing and theory work involved in masonry. In some areas, colleges offer courses which teach not only the manual skills but also related fields such as drafting and blueprint reading or construction conservation. Electronic Stonemasonry training resources enhance traditional delivery techniques. Hands-on workshops are a good way to learn about stonemasonry also. Those wishing to become stonemasons should have little problem working at heights, possess reasonable hand-eye coordination, be moderately physically fit, and have basic mathematical ability. Most of these things can be developed while learning.


Tools

Stonemasons use a wide variety of
tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use by animals, simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back Paleolithic, hun ...

tool
s to handle and shape stone blocks (
ashlar Ashlar () is finely dressed (cut, worked) stone, either an individual that has been worked until squared, or a structure built from such stones. Ashlar is the finest stone unit, generally rectangular , mentioned by as , or less frequently ...

ashlar
) and slabs into finished articles. The basic tools for shaping the stone are a
mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produced, consists of polymer A polym ...

mallet
,
chisel A chisel is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone tool is, in t ...

chisel
s, and a metal
straight edge Straight edge (sometimes abbreviated sXe or signified by XXX or X) is a subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in h ...

straight edge
. With these one can make a flat surface – the basis of all stonemasonry. Chisels come in a variety of sizes and shapes, dependent upon the function for which they are being used and have many different names depending on locality. There are different chisels for different materials and sizes of material being worked, for removing large amounts of material and for putting a fine finish on the stone. Mixing mortar is normally done today with mortar mixers which usually use a rotating drum or rotating paddles to mix the mortar. The
masonry trowel The Masonry trowel is a hand trowel A trowel is a small hand tool used for digging, applying, smoothing, or moving small amounts of viscous or particulate material. Common varieties include the masonry trowel, garden trowel, and float trowel. ...
is used for the application of the mortar between and around the stones as they are set into place. Filling in the gaps (joints) with mortar is referred to as pointing. Pointing in smaller joints can be accomplished using tuck pointers, pointing trowels, and margin trowels, among other tools. A mason's hammer has a long thin head and is called a Punch Hammer. It would be used with a chisel or splitter for a variety of purposes A walling hammer (catchy hammer) can be used in place of a hammer and chisel or pincher to produce rubble or pinnings or snecks. Stonemasons use a
lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name) Lewis () is a masculine English given name, English-language given name. It was coined as an anglicisation of given names in other languages. "Lewis" has been used to anglicise the Irish language, Ir ...
together with a crane or block and tackle to hoist building stones into place. Today power tools such as compressed-air chisels, abrasive spinners, and
angle grinder Angle grinder An angle grinder, also known as a side grinder or disc grinder, is a handheld power tool used for grinding (abrasive cutting) and polishing. Although developed originally as tools for rigid abrasive discs, the availability of an int ...
s are much used: these save time and money, but are hazardous and require just as much skill as the hand tools that they augment. But many of the basic tools of stonemasonry have remained virtually the same throughout vast amounts of time, even thousands of years, for instance when comparing chisels that can be bought today with chisels found at the pyramids of Giza the common sizes and shapes are virtually unchanged. Stonemasonry is one of the earliest trades in
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
's history. During the time of the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (Ameri ...
and
domestication of animals The domestication of animals is the mutual relationship between animals Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system tha ...
, people learned how to use fire to create
quicklime Calcium Calcium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ca and atomic number 20. As an alkaline earth metal, calcium is a reactive metal that forms a dark oxide-nitride layer when exposed to air. Its physical and chemical pr ...

quicklime
,
plaster Plaster is a building material used for the protective or decorative coating of walls and ceilings and for moulding and casting decorative elements. In English, "plaster" usually means a material used for the interiors of buildings, while "rend ...
s, and mortars. They used these to fashion homes for themselves with mud, straw, or stone, and masonry was born. The Ancients heavily relied on the stonemason to build the most impressive and long-lasting monuments to their civilizations. The
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المصريين, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group of people originating from the country of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning t ...

Egyptians
built their
pyramid A pyramid (from el, πυραμίς ') is a structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act ...
s, the civilizations of Central America had their step pyramids, the
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
their palaces, the
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...
their temples, and the Romans their public works and wonders (See
Roman Architecture Ancient Roman architecture adopted the external language of classical Greek architecture Ancient Greek architecture came from the Greeks, Greek-speaking people (''Hellenic'' people) whose Ancient Greece, culture flourished on the Gre ...

Roman Architecture
). People of the
Indus Valley Civilization The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is ...

Indus Valley Civilization
, such as at
Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contempora ...

Dholavira
made entire cities characterized by stone architecture. Among the famous ancient stonemasons is
Sophroniscus Sophroniscus ( Greek: Σωφρονίσκος, ''Sophroniskos''), husband of Phaenarete, was the father of the philosopher Socrates. Occupation Little is known about Sophroniscus, and his relationship with his son Socrates. According to tradition, ...
, the father of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
, who was a stone-cutter. Castle building was an entire industry for the medieval stonemasons. When the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
fell, building in dressed stone decreased in much of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
, and there was a resulting increase in timber-based construction. Stonework experienced a resurgence in the 9th and 10th centuries in Europe, and by the 12th-century religious fervour resulted in the construction of thousands of impressive churches and cathedrals in stone across Western Europe. Medieval stonemasons' skills were in high demand, and members of the
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functiona ...
, gave rise to three classes of stonemasons:
apprentice An apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation of practitioners of a trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a ...

apprentice
s,
journeymen A journeyman is a worker, skilled in a given building trade or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages ...

journeymen
, and
master masons
master masons
. Apprentices were indentured to their masters as the price for their training, journeymen were qualified craftsmen who were paid by the day, and master masons were considered freemen who could travel as they wished to work on the projects of the
patron Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...

patron
s and could operate as self-employed craftsmen and train apprentices. During the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, the stonemason's guild admitted members who were not stonemasons, and eventually evolved into the Society of
Freemasonry Freemasonry or Masonry refers to fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local guilds of stonemasons Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls ...

Freemasonry
; fraternal groups which observe the traditional culture of stonemasons but are not typically involved in modern construction projects. A medieval stonemason would often carve a personal symbol onto their block to differentiate their work from that of other stonemasons. This also provided a simple ‘quality assurance’ system. The Renaissance saw stonemasonry return to the prominence and sophistication of the Classical age. The rise of the humanist philosophy gave people the ambition to create marvelous works of art. The centre stage for the Renaissance would prove to be Italy, where
Italian city-states The Italian city-states were numerous political and independent territorial entities that existed in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of ...
such as
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
erected great structures, including the
Florence Cathedral Florence Cathedral, formally the (; in English Cathedral of Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic), Saint Mary of the Flower), is the cathedral of Florence, Italy ( it, Duomo di Firenze). It was begun in 1296 in the Gothic architecture, Gothic st ...

Florence Cathedral
, the
Fountain of Neptune
Fountain of Neptune
, and the
Laurentian Library The Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana or BML) is a historic library in Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica ...
, which was planned and built by
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known simply as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance In art history, the High Renaissance was ...

Michelangelo Buonarroti
, a famous sculptor of the Renaissance. When Europeans settled the Americas, they brought the stonemasonry techniques of their respective homelands with them. Settlers used what materials were available, and in some areas, stone was the material of choice. In the first waves, building mimicked that of Europe, to eventually be replaced by unique architecture later on. In the 20th century, stonemasonry saw its most radical changes in the way the work is accomplished. Prior to the first half of the century, most heavy work was executed by
draft animals A working animal is an animal, usually domestication, domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained Human uses of animals, to perform tasks. They may be pets or draft animals trained to achieve certain tasks, such as guide dogs, assistance do ...

draft animals
or human muscle power. With the arrival of the
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine In thermodynamics and engineering, a heat engine is a system that converts heat to mechanical energy, which can then be used to do work (physics), mechanical work. It doe ...

internal combustion engine
, many of these hard aspects of the trade have been made simpler and easier. Cranes and
forklifts A forklift (also called lift truck, jitney, fork truck, fork hoist, and forklift truck) is a powered industrial truck used to lift and move materials over short distances. The forklift was developed in the early 20th century by various compani ...

forklifts
have made moving and laying heavy stones relatively easy for the stonemasons. Motor powered mortar mixers have saved much in time and energy as well. Compressed-air powered tools have made working of stone less time-intensive.
Petrol Gasoline () or petrol () (see the etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated word ...
and electric-powered abrasive saws can cut through stone much faster and with more precision than chiseling alone.
Carbide In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in ...

Carbide
-tipped chisels can stand up to much more abuse than the steel and iron chisels made by
blacksmith A blacksmith is a metalsmith A metalsmith or simply smith is a craftsperson fashioning useful items (for example, tools, kitchenware, tableware, jewellery, and weapons) out of various metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέτ ...

blacksmith
s of old.


Gallery

File:Steinmetz.jpg, An apprentice carving a block File:Stone Mason marks as seen in the Chapter House of Fountains Abbey.jpg, Three different stonemason's marks, which can be seen in the Chapter House of
Fountains Abbey Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian The Cistercians, () officially the Order of Cistercians ( la, (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order of monks ...

Fountains Abbey
File:Taile de pierre.jpg, A modern stonemason's workbench with a block of
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
File:Taille depierre 2.jpg, Typical French
chisel A chisel is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone tool is, in t ...

chisel
s with wooden hilt, used for soft limestone File:Trace la pointe.JPG, A French stonemason using a
straightedge A straightedge or straight edge is a tool used for drawing straight lines, or checking their straightness. If it has equally spaced markings along its length, it is usually called a ruler. Straightedges are used in the automotive service and mac ...

straightedge
and chisels File:Fotothek df roe-neg 0000431 004 Steinmetz auf dem Seitenschiffdach der Hofkirche.jpg, A left-handed stonemason with
mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produced, consists of polymer A polym ...

mallet
and chisel File:Marmor-spalten.jpg, Splitting a block of
marble Marble is a metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic representation of ...

marble
with plug and feathers File:Knüpfel retouched.jpg, Stonemason's
mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produced, consists of polymer A polym ...

mallet
s of
plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or s ...

plastic
,
beechwood Beech (''Fagus'') is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also re ...

beechwood
and
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appe ...

steel
File:Tailleur de pierre.jpg, A stonemason and his tools. File:Steinmetzwappen.svg, The Guild Coat of Arms.


See also

* A well received book on Stonemasonry * * * * * * * * Categories: * Stonemasonry tools


References


External links


HistoryExtra interview with Stonemason Andrew Ziminski

The Stone Foundation Org
{{Authority control Stonemasonry, Stonemasons, Stone de:Steinmetz