Masonry Construction is Thousands of Years Old
Masonry construction is one of the oldest building techniques known to man. Ever since humans began domesticating animals and establishing long-term dwellings, masonry has been there to provide protection from the elements. Despite the simplicity and ancient history of this process, masonry continues to be a widely popular construction technique in modern society as well.
The History of Masonry
The birth of masonry dates back to the first agricultural age (known as the Neolithic Revolution). This time period began approximately 10,000 years ago, and includes the development of the Fertile Crescent from 9,000 to 7,000 BC. During this time, the process of using fire to craft mortar or plaster was discovered. This mortar was combined with stone, mud or straw to build the world’s first permanent man-made structures.
From this time onward, masonry would become the building method of choice for civilization. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Greek Parthenon, masonry has helped build some of the world’s most iconic structures.
While the advent of wood-based construction would eventually eclipse the popularity of stonemasonry, the craft is still used extensively in both commercial and residential structures.
Masonry as a Craft
Masonry construction has long been regarded as a noble trade. During the medieval ages, a stonemason’s guild was formed and a 7-year apprenticeship program became the status quo for entry into the profession. The guild gave rise to three classes of masons – apprentice, journeyman and master mason.
Today, training takes a similar path. In many countries, students must train under a master mason for four years before he is considered experienced enough to perform jobs on his own.
Today, modern advancements in technology and techniques continue to advance the art of masonry. The use of heavy machinery aids in the placement and assembly of individual stone units. Various coloring, texturing and finishing techniques are also helping masonry construction find new applications within residential homes.
Many of these techniques allow concrete to be manufactured in such a way that it mimics stone or clay. Since concrete is more affordable than natural materials, masonry construction is finding more and more use as an affordable design element in homes. Common modern-day applications of masonry construction include chimneys, brick walls, cobblestone roadways and concrete block housing.