Dry stone walls

On November 28, 2018, UNESCO recognized the art of the dry stone wall as an intangible heritage of humanity, as an art exemplifying ancient knowledge, handed down from rural communities and deeply rooted in them, which testify to the harmonious relationship between man and nature. The dry stone structures have been shaped according to a variety of types and used as homes, for agriculture and animal husbandry, optimizing the local natural and human resources.

The technique consists in positioning the stones, mainly found on site, one on top of the other, ensuring the necessary stability, without using binders (lime or cement mortar).

To build a dry stone wall, the first step is to carry out an excavation, well levelled, in which the bottom of the wall is built (always dry) and from there one proceeds in elevation by placing the largest stones at the bottom, and gradually those of smaller dimensions. The smaller sizes are used to fill the too large gaps.

This technique ensures soil stability and protects the most valuable element of the rural landscape, the soil, thanks to the gaps in the masonry, which provide a favourable environment for many animal and plant species and allow the natural passage of rainwater in the deeper layers of the soil. It is wrongly believed that the use of mortar to anchor the stones increases the stability of the wall, and instead the binder reduces its carrying capacity as it prevents the passage of water contained in the soil and whose thrust is often a cause of instability.