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Old World Stone Mason – Arnaldo Costa – Fascinating

Old World Stone Mason – Arnaldo Costa – Fascinating

The craft of stonemasonry (or stonecraft) has existed since humanity could use and make tools[citation needed] – creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth. These materials have been used to construct many of the long-lasting, ancient monuments, artifacts, cathedrals, and cities in a wide variety of cultures. Famous works of stonemasonry include the Taj Mahal, Cusco’s Incan Wall, Easter Island’s statues, the Egyptian Pyramids, Angkor Wat, Borobudur, Tihuanaco, Tenochtitlan, Persepolis, the Parthenon, Stonehenge, and Chartres Cathedral.

Stonemasonry is one of the earliest trades in civilization’s history. During the time of the Neolithic Revolution and domestication of animals, people learned how to use fire to create quicklime, plasters, 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 built their pyramids, the civilizations of Central America had their step pyramids, the Persians their palaces, the Greeks their temples, and the Romans their public works and wonders (See Roman Architecture). Among the famous ancient stonemasons is Sophroniscus, the father of Socrates, who was a stone-cutter.

Castle building was an entire industry for the medieval stonemasons. When the Western Roman Empire fell, building in dressed stone decreased in much of Western Europe, and there was a resulting increase in timber-based construction. Stone work 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.

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 city-states such as Florence erected great structures, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Laurentian Library which was planned and built by Michelangelo Buonarroti, a famous stonemason 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.

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