Quantifying the History of Building Stone Use in a Heritage City: Cambridge, UK, 1040–2020

Woodcock, Nigel H. and Furness, Euan N. (2021) Quantifying the History of Building Stone Use in a Heritage City: Cambridge, UK, 1040–2020. Geoheritage, 13 (1). ISSN 1867-2477 DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-021-00536-0

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-021-00536-0


Building stone use through time in Cambridge is reassessed based on a new field survey of most significant buildings within the city boundary. Included in the survey is stone external to buildings, as walling or dressings, but omitting paving and most roofing. Stone provenance is identified to a quarry or quarry group where possible. Stone location is specified by grid reference and as a named component of each building. The date of each building project is extracted from documentary evidence if available. The volume of stone used in each project is estimated from whether it forms walls or dressings or both, and over what proportion of the host building. Assigning stone types to a single quarry, mostly in a laterally and vertically heterogeneous shallow-marine Jurassic carbonate sequence, involves the use of ‘type locations’—buildings with documented evidence of stone source and construction date. Field-scale identification criteria are essential to complement museum reference samples and microscopic petrography. The new database of stone and brick includes over 1300 records, about three times more than compiled from previous studies. This semi-quantitative approach to stone use yields pie charts of relative volumes of stone types, scatter plots of first use of each quarry’s stone against its distance from Cambridge, and histograms of the volume of each stone type through time. These results inform discussion of geological, locational, and societal influences on the sequence of stone use. The methodology used in the Cambridge study should prove useful in other heritage towns and cities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2021AREP; IA77
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
99 - Other
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
06 - Part-III Projects
08 - Green Open Access
99 - Other
Journal or Publication Title: Geoheritage
Volume: 13
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-021-00536-0
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 14:58
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 01:01
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/6021

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