Oxford stone revisited: causes and consequences of diversity in building limestone used in the historic centre of Oxford, England
Miguel Gomez-Heras, Bernard J. Smith, Heather A. Viles, 2010. "Oxford stone revisited: causes and consequences of diversity in building limestone used in the historic centre of Oxford, England", Natural Stone Resources for Historical Monuments, R Přikryl, Á Török
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Stone decay is the result of the interaction of stone with its environment. It is therefore important to understand why certain materials, sometimes not the most suitable, were used to shape the built heritage of specific areas. The historical evolution of these areas conditioned many of the combinations of materials we see today, which in some cases can interact to accelerate decay. These combinations were driven by availability during construction, architectural fashion or the simultaneous utilization of materials that are aesthetically similar but differ significantly in their physical and chemical properties. A microcosm of the complex decisions that determine stone selection and subsequent interactions is provided by the City of Oxford, which is an excellent example of how such historic evolution can work with material characteristics to accelerate decay.