Stone Masonry

Stone masonry is a form of construction using natural stone and mortar to make load-bearing and non-bearing walls. Benefitting from the inherent durability and weather-resistant properties of natural stone, stone masonry is one of the oldest trades in human history that has been used for buildings, structures, monuments, cities, and sculptures around the world. Because of the differences between various irregular natural stone types, shapes, and sizes, multiple methods of stone masonry construction have been developed in order to respond to unique project demands and locations. Stone masonry types are distinguished by how tooled and shaped the stones are, and whether the stones are laid in consistent mortared horizontal courses or organized in random or uncoursed ways. While traditional stone masonry walls were typically bearing walls, today stone is more commonly used as a non-structural facing veneer that is tied back to a structural concrete or masonry wall.

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Cyclopean Masonry
Drawing of a cyclopean stone masonry wall showing the size and randomness of the stones

Cyclopean masonry is a form of stonework where massive stone boulders are fitted together with minimum gaps between adjacent stones. Typically without any tooling, leftover gaps in cyclopean walls are generally filled with smaller stones without mortar. Cyclopean masonry is notably found in ancient Mycenaean architecture and is named after the mythical Cyclops who would have the strength necessary to move the enormous stones into place.

Cyclopean masonry is a form of stonework where massive stone boulders are fitted together with minimum gaps between adjacent stones. Typically without any tooling, leftover gaps in cyclopean walls are generally filled with smaller stones without mortar.
Cyclopean Masonry

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Process: Massive unworked stone
Uses: Ancient architecture, fortifications
Style: Epic

Drawings include:
Cyclopean Stone Masonry wall elevation

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Coursed Rubble Masonry
Drawing of a Coursed Rubble Stone Masonry Wall showing the organic courses

Coursed rubble stone masonry is made with broken stones of widely different sizes and qualities that are laid in level courses. One of the most common forms of masonry construction, coursed rubble stones are typically hammer dressed to be shaped into more controlled and equal sizes. Coursed rubble masonry is laid with continuous and approximately level courses that can have varied heights along the length of each course.

Coursed rubble stone masonry is made with broken stones of widely different sizes and qualities that are laid in level courses. One of the most common forms of masonry construction, coursed rubble stones are typically hammer dressed to be shaped into more controlled and equal sizes.
Coursed Rubble Masonry

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Process: Hammer dressed
Found: Direct from quarry
Uses: Boundary walls, small residential
Style: Natural

Drawings include:
Coursed Rubble Stone Masonry wall elevation

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Squared Rubble Masonry
Illustration of a Squared Rubble Stone Masonry wall with relatively equal sizes and courses

Squared rubble stone masonry consists of stones squared on all joints through facing methods of hammering or chiseling the stone. Squared rubble can consist of various sized stones and can be laid in equal courses, coursed every third or fourth stone, or uncoursed. Squared rubble stone masonry is often found in hilly regions with readily available quality and cheap stones.

Squared rubble stone masonry consists of stones squared on all joints through facing methods of hammering or chiseling the stone. Squared rubble can consist of various sized stones and can be laid in equal courses, coursed every third or fourth stone, or uncoursed.
Squared Rubble Masonry

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Process: Tooled
Found: Hilly areas with good quality stone
Uses: Ordinary buildings (uncoursed), Public buildings (coursed)
Style: Common

Drawings include:
Squared Rubble Stone Masonry wall elevation

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Coursed Ashlar Masonry
Drawing of a Coursed Ashlar Stone Masonry wall seen from front elevation

Coursed ashlar stone masonry is a construction type built from tooled and dressed ashlar stones with uniform properties throughout. High in cost, labor, and material waste caused by the tooling processes, coursed ashlar masonry is laid with equal heights and joints between every consecutive layer of construction.

Coursed ashlar stone masonry is a construction built from tooled and dressed ashlar stone with uniform properties throughout. High in cost, labor, and waste caused by the tooling processes, coursed ashlar masonry is laid with equal heights and joints between every consecutive layer of construction.
Coursed Ashlar Masonry

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Process: Finely cut and dressed stones
Uses: Heavy structures, piers and abutments
Style: Heavy, engineered pattern

Drawings include:
Coursed Ashlar Stone Masonry wall elevation

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Random | Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
Illustration of the layering of a Random | Uncoursed Rubble Stone Masonry Wall

Random uncoursed rubble stone masonry is made by stacking broken stones of widely different sizes and qualities. Considered the cheapest and roughest type of stone masonry, random uncoursed rubble masonry is typically made up of stones pulled directly from the land with minimal efforts used to to prepare the corners of the stones before they are laid. Large stones are laid first and the spaces between are followed with smaller broken stones. Random rubble masonry is laid with discontinuous but roughly level courses with expressed faces to emphasize the natural qualities of the stone shapes.

Random uncoursed rubble stone masonry is made by stacking stones of widely different sizes and qualities. Considered the cheapest and roughest type of stone masonry, random rubble is made up of stones pulled directly from the land with minimal efforts to tool the stones before they are laid.
Random | Uncoursed Rubble Masonry

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Process: Minimal tooling; breaking off weak corners
Found: Direct from land or quarry
Uses: Low walls
Style: Natural

Drawings include:
Random | Uncoursed Rubble Stone Masonry wall elevation

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