The projects providing knowledge in „Traditional Masonry Techniques” are thematically quite diverse. The projects are answering the needs of endangered heritage sites and so refer to the material traditionally used in the particular region, to the regional construction techniques and handcraft traditions.
The projects are alternating from season to season and may include the restoration of historical walls and wall systems of a heritage site, workshops in traditional plastering or in traditional paving techniques.
In several regions there are carried out projects in traditional dry stone wall techniques. Although the used material differs from region to region the traditional techniques are quite similar. Dry stone walls are constructed without mortar and had been common over centuries to strengthen steep slopes, so they are often remarkable characteristics of cultural landscapes. However, the dry stone walls are in many places endangered since the scarps had been fallen out of use, the construction, restoration and maintenance of dry stone walls is physically very demanding and the traditional knowledge among the local population gets lost step by step.
Additionally, European Heritage Volunteers offers sometimes projects about “Traditional Clay Techniques”. These projects are organised only every second year and focus or on traditional construction techniques using clay materials or on traditional clay plastering techniques.
In 2017, European Heritage Volunteers will organise two projects dealing with “Traditional Masonry Techniques”:
The first project will take place at the historic Mining Region Erzgebirge in Saxony. The detailed description of the project you can find under the category "Restoration of Technical Heritage".
One of the two working tasks will be the restoration of the capping of wall remains of a technical heritage site. The walls have suffered from weathering and several stones are missing. In some cases the arches of former openings are not preserved.
Under the professional guidance of enthusiasts of a local initiative that are experienced in the specific traditional technique the participants will sort and square the rubbles stones for the walls, prepare the surrounding area, reconstruct the arches, complement missing parts, supplement the walls up to twenty centimetres and grout the capstones for the wall’s top edge. The stones will be embedded in mortar and the recessing joints will be filled in using small stones. The local initiative has collected during the last years numerous rubbles which can now be used to restore the walls.
The project will take place from August, 5th, to August, 18th, 2017.
The second project will take place in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate, as a part of the project which is more detailed described under the category "Maintenance of Cultural Landscapes".
The area has been used over centuries for winegrowing and had been therefore terraced.
The dry stone walls between the terraces are nowadays partly fallen into decay because of the fact that a lot of the former vineyards are out of use, that the maintenance of the dry stone walls is physically demanding and that the knowledge about traditional techniques is disappearing.
Under the professional guidance of experienced masons in two regions of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley damaged parts of the historical dry stone walls will be restored and additional knowledge about this traditional technique will be provided to the participants.
The project will take place from August, 27th, to September, 9th, 2017.