The use of limestone in a historic context – the experience of Malta
Joann Cassar, 2010. "The use of limestone in a historic context – the experience of Malta", Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles, J. Cassar
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The Maltese Islands measure only 316 km2, have a population of just over 405 000 and are situated in the central Mediterranean. They are composed of sedimentary rocks, of which the Globigerina and Coralline Limestones have been used as building materials since prehistoric times. This paper gives an overview of the use of these materials, and other imported materials, for building from prehistoric times to the present day, and also looks at the exploitation of the underground environment through the ages.
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Limestone is a highly successful and widely used building material, found in many important historic buildings and new monuments around the world. Whilst its success reflects its durability under a wide range of environmental conditions, there are still important questions surrounding the selection, use and conservation of building limestones. In order to make best use of new limestone today, and to conserve old limestone most effectively, we need to bring modern research methods to bear on understanding the characteristics of different limestones, what mortars to use, and how key limestones have responded to polluted atmospheres. This volume brings together recent inter-disciplinary research on these issues, illustrating the diversity of innovative techniques that are now being applied to furthering our understanding of building limestones.