Although stone was used extensively as a building material in the past, new building methods and importation of cheaper foreign stone means that indigenous stone is now not routinely used in Wales. In conjunction with the Welsh Stone Forum, we aim to foster greater awareness of building materials used in the past and provide information on sources of stone available today. It is particularly important to obtain suitable stone for conservation purposes, or where new build is required to merge sensitively into an existing vernacular architecture. The project will focus on developing a database to co-ordinate existing information, developing a stone library to allow comparison of stone samples, and support case studies in the use of building stone.
Current work includes systematic sampling of rock from known building stone quarries in the Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks of South Wales. This will be expanded in future phases of this project to include lithologies across Wales. The aim is to construct an on-line database of data and images to facilitate comparison of different building stones, along with documented examples of their usage.