Natural stone of many types is used in a wide range of monuments and buildings dating from many periods and located in widely differing environmental conditions around the world. Thus, there is a great need for better understanding of the durability of stone, in terms of its resilience in the face of a wide range of deteriorative processes. Such knowledge will allow better conservation and management of both historic stonework and new build. This paper reviews the current challenges facing attempts to link studies of durability to conservation, and proposes a way forward. First, it outlines the current complexity of factors surrounding the use, deterioration and conservation of natural stone today, in the light of climatic change, globalization and sustainability. Second, it reviews three important issues surrounding durability; that is, the meaning of durability, how we measure durability, and the challenges for modelling and predicting durability. Third, it proposes a new approach to conceptualizing and assessing durability to make it more relevant and useful for practical conservation.

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