The History of Sandstone

As the number one supplier of sandstone worktops, we appreciate the usefulness of this ancient material more than anyone.

It’s history is intriguing with the history of man’s interaction and adaptation of sandstone dating all the way back to prehistoric times.

Tools both made from, and designed to work, sandstone is among the oldest ever found, and the genesis of domestic building came when early man began to expand the natural caves in which they dwelt, adding chambers and tunnels by cutting into the surrounding sandstone.

Naturally occurring sandstone rocks were also used to form some of the earliest boundary walls.

It’s soft and readily workable nature meant that sandstone continued to be a favoured as a building material (and continues to be up to the present day).

From the early Middle Kingdom period (2055-1800 BC), ancient Egyptians began to quarry sandstone on a large scale and several their sandstone buildings – such as the Temple at Luxor – still stand today (though the earlier Pyramids at Giza were constructed of limestone).

Did you know?

Also, still standing, and representing the largest religious monument anywhere in the world, the Temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia were constructed from the local brown sandstone in the early 12th century.

Similarly, sandstone was employed by the architects of newly-independent America in the production of grand governmental infrastructure. Designed by James Hoban, winner of a national competition, in 1792, The White House itself in Washington DC and is built from white-painted sandstone extracted (largely by slaves) from the nearby Aquia Creek quarry.

With civilisations preference for a more modern, composite, man-made building materials for outside structures, this means that sandstone is now more commonly used in interior design (such as on worktops and facades) and for outdoor paving.

With its enduring appeal testament to its versatility and strength, sandstone is quite literally not going anywhere.