Stone uses in Reims Cathedral: provenance, physical properties and restoration phases
A. Turmel, G. Fronteau, C. Thomachot-Schneider, C. Moreau, L. Chalumeau, V. Barbin, 2014. "Stone uses in Reims Cathedral: provenance, physical properties and restoration phases", Stone in Historic Buildings: Characterization and Performance, J. Cassar, M. G. Winter, B. R. Marker, N. R. G. Walton, D. C. Entwisle, E. N. Bromhead, J. W. N. Smith
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Reims Cathedral is a major monument in the NE of France originally built with local Lutetian limestone. The recent closure of the last quarries has made restoration using the same stone more complicated. The restoration stones used currently are Lutetian limestones from the centre of the Paris Basin (Saint-Pierre-Aigle and Saint-Maximin stones). Mapping of the Cathedral's façades confirmed the data from ancient manuscripts: Courville stone was the original building stone, but several other local stones from various quarries and beds were also used. As a follow-up to this mapping, Lutetian limestones from five disused quarries were sampled for petrophysical characterization tests: thin section analyses, porosimetry, capillary and drying kinetics. The petrophysical properties of the limestones showed differences between the two main local stone types (Ditrupa limestone and miliolids limestone) and also between the quarries. This study addresses the difficulty of selecting new stone for restoration. Should ancient quarries be re-opened? If so, which ones?
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There is considerable academic and practical interest in stone and stone buildings, as exemplified by the wide range of high-quality and innovative work being conducted in the pursuit of the effective preservation and restoration of historic buildings. This is reflected in the numerous publications on stone and stone buildings that regularly find their way into the public domain. Not least amongst these are a number of Geological Society Special Publications, which have appeared in recent years. This current volume seeks to bring to the attention of the various professionals in the field (geologists, architects, engineers, conservators and conservation scientists) recent work centred on the characterization and performance of this important resource and its use in historic buildings. The volume has wider relevance, including to those interested in the heritage of stone.