Provenance, characterization and decay of a porous calcarenite of the Puglia region (‘Pietra Gentile’)
A. Calia, M. Sileo, L. Matera, 2014. "Provenance, characterization and decay of a porous calcarenite of the Puglia region (‘Pietra Gentile’)", 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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Conservation of the built heritage requires knowledge of the characteristics and use of the constituent materials and their state of conservation. Knowledge of the material's source is important for laboratory studies and stone replacement, but it also has historic-cultural significance with respect to the exploitation of stone resources in the past. In this sense, we present a study of ‘Pietra Gentile’, a traditional building material of southern Italy, through which we aimed to acquire knowledge concerning the quarries, characteristics of extracted materials, use and decay features within buildings. Ancient and active quarries were identified and the petrographical, chemical-mineralogical and physical features of the quarry materials were studied. The use of the stone was documented in many historic towns in the area, including monuments and minor buildings, and the main decay morphologies were detected by field activities and laboratory analyses. The high susceptibility of the stone to the actions of water and salts was highlighted. Field and laboratory data of quarries and artefacts were organized into a database as a source of knowledge useful for the evaluation, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage.
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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.