Natural Stone & The Ancient World
Materials such as granite, marble and travertine are tried-and-tested by thousands of years of history, and, as a testament to their strength and durability, many ancient buildings made from these stones are still standing today.
The Ancient Egyptians were the first society in history to quarry and use natural stone for construction purposes, and most of their structures were built using limestone and granite.
Of particular note is the Great Pyramid of Cheops, which, still standing today, was constructed from enormous limestone blocks around 2560 BC.
Inside the famous pyramid, the pharaoh’s burial chamber was constructed using granite blocks, and these blocks were hewn so expertly that, remarkably, even to this day a piece of paper cannot be slid between them.
The Ancient Greeks employed natural stone in truly astonishing ways, using marble, for instance, to construct the breathtaking Temple of Artemis, another marvel of the ancient world, which comprises 127 marble columns each standing a miraculous five stories high.
Today, unfortunately, only a few columns of the temple remain, owing to its ultimate destruction in 401 AD by a conquering mob.
Other notable marble monuments include the Temple of Zeus, the Theseum, and the Parthenon.
Significantly, the Ancient Greeks were the first society to employ natural stone in the home, with literature of the time referencing marble bathrooms.
The Romans used both granite and marble to construct their mighty empire.
Granite was used in paving slabs for their extraordinary network of roads, as well as for building material in their public baths and for columns in monuments such as the Pantheon.
Marble was also prized for its beauty, and the Romans were the first to use this material to line their buildings which were built on a foundation of bricks and mortar – a technique which is still used today.