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Category : Hut in dry stones

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I am sorry if my English is bad but I use google translation :)


I recently proposed the creation of a category "Hut in dry stones" to regroup constructions that are found from Spain to Greece, but especially in France where, depending on the region it is given various Names: bories, boris, bôrie, bory, bar ® aque, cabote, cadole, capitelle, caselle, cabana, cabanya, ....


In France, there is a global name that includes all these types of construction, the translation of which would be "Hut in dry stones".

Depending on the region, the intended use and the materials found, these constructions have very different shapes and sizes but all are part of the local heritage.


I suggest you follow some links to see some of them.


You will have noticed, in view of the results found on google image that these constructions are not constructions locals but but well repended at least in France.

The number of photos known by google seems to indicate the frequency even if few are still in good condition.


These places could be used as shelters, temporary shelters in case of inclement weather, shelters for tools, to protect an oven, sheepfolds (for the biggest), washing,

Some were made with large stones, others with small ones.

Some make it to last (and still exist), others, temporary, had to be rebuilt each year.


These construcitons are generally in the mountains, far from the roads of other dwellings.

During my hikes, I photographed a lot of these constructions and I identified their position and I want to share with the community my experience.

I do not doubt that others also have places of this type to share, which is why I wanted to create this category.


Of course, I search without finding categories already existing and corresponding to this type of construction




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Suspect may not be global. Let us see whether outside France examples are found.

Also suspect on our island (UK) Victorians rendered everything, sealing all gaps. Converting dry stone construction to mortared buildings.


Personally have no photos of dry stone huts and have walked extensively on our island.

By "dry stone" means "constructed without mortar". <-- use that in your description if you want.

Also none of your examples have glass in their windows. <-- use that in your description if you want.


Plenty of dry stone walls round here.

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Hi flipflopnick


I note your expression of "built without mortar" (very explicit) to replace the one (commonly used) of "Hut in dry stones".


The translation of the expression that I have chosen is widely used in France and has a Wikipedia page very well provided and documented but I understand that its literal translation is not necessarily very understandable.




I have just found a definition for this type of construction which I think I will use soon: "A dry stone hut is a type of rural building, built entirely without mortar, with local extraction stones, and used as a shelter Temporary or seasonal to the cultivator of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, his tools, his animals, his harvest, in a plot distant from his permanent dwelling." I will adapt to insist on the absence of mortar.


I see that in Ireland too, some are still in a state of affairs since a wikipedia page dedicated to them https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_hut


There are over 400 (private) on the southern slope of Mount Eagle (516 m) on the Dingle Peninsula, on Church Island, off Beginish Island and Reask. But the most famous are those located on the summit of Skellig Michael Island, in the Skellig Islands archipelago, which have been classified as World Heritage Sites by Unesco since 1996.



Edited by YvesProvence
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German immigrant pioneers in the Texas Hill Country made these kinds of stacked rock buildings too, but I too wonder if this category will be TRULY global, or if there are enough of them for a good and sustainable category.


I would lose the last sentence of your proposed definition about distance, since some of these structures could be made as or beside homes in pioneer times.


Will you accept ANY building or construction made of local materials without mortar? Sod houses, for example? Rock walls? How about reconstructions or ruins? Will you accept buildings that began as dry-stone construction, but were mortared later?


What are the proposed visit requirements?

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Hello Benchmark Blasterz,


This category, as I foresee it, is the one commonly known and described very long by wikipedia : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabane_en_pierre_sèche


I therefore only foresee constructions made with the stones found on the spot and without masonry ... except the very localized masonry for the waterproofing of a place intended to store food there.


Sod houses : No, it is an interesting but differing construction of the notion known in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Ireland (and no doubt elsewhere)


Rock walls : Muret in dry stones, or in Provencal "bancaï", or "restanque" ... These are constructions that can be associated. They do not offer shelters but were built by the same men at the same time to prevent water from gullying the land. At first, I did not think of it but your remark is very interesting. I think to add it to the constructions allowed if the group is validated but only if the wall is long enough (more than 50 m for example) or under construction in "épi de blé" (alternating stones placed horizontally and vertically).

If we accept "rock walls" without this restriction, there could be too much.





I totally agree that stone fences without mortar-free stone fences and cairns (and rock piles) should not be included in other categories because they are not shelters.

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@Bear and Ragged


It seems that this type of construction is more dependent than we think but many have been destroyed for the recovery of the stones.


In the south of France, this type of construction remained, but due to the particular use made of it (not necessarily to transform a shelter by a dwelling) and the use of small assembled stones. The small stones were removed from the fields to allow better crops and these stones were used for shelters.


The different sites that explain the use and the methods of construction seem to indicate that the rural people used what they had to do what they needed without going too far for stones that would probably have been more adapted but It would have been necessary to pay.




It is true that I am a little mistaken in creating this post in this place but it is nevertheless judicious by the interventions that are made there.

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In Texas we see these buildings being made with dry stack technique initially, then mortared, mudded, or stuccoed quickly. Texas is a land of biting things that LOVE cool dark cracks to hide in. Life on the frontier was hard enough without intentionally making a perfect black widow, scorpion, and rattlesnake habitat to put your livestock and family in for shelter. YIKES


For that reason, in Texas, where our earliest dry stack structures date from the 19th century pioneer days, we will not have dry-stack huts or small livestock-folds, but will have walls. You can always let the spiders, snakes and scorpions have the walls, since they are in the environment anyway. Just stay away from the walls to avoid interaction. If this category eventuallly gets fleshed out and approved, I will be photographing these dry stack walls FROM A RESPECTFUL DISTANCE, and not just because almost all of them will be on private property!!


I waymark because it doesn't require me to stick my hands in cracks and feel around in small dark places where venomous things live. My husband has pulled out several caches with black widows hanging off them, or out of places way too close to visible ones. North TX BWs are still alive until the bitterest cold of February, and in south Texas the weather NEVER gets them, so it's a discretion/valor thing for me.

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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Living in the Great White North, I am glad that deep frost keeps away poisonous snakes and poisonous spiders. Even so, I hear your pain. Caching in guard rails (and similar nooks) will too often result in disturbing a nest of biting flying insects.


Once in Odessa TX I had to step over a highway crash-cushion guardrail to get a benchmark. The guardrail was the kind with the bent metal in a wavy E-shape attached to round wooden posts at the center.


The barrier was straight, and I was approaching from the back, so I could look down the length of the underside of the barrier, which had two nooks in it above and below where the metal railing was attached to the post. EVERY NOOK on EVERY POST had a HUGE black widow spider hanging upside down. Over 100 venomous spiders, and most had at least 1 egg sac (many had 2), so that's +300 more baby BW spiders per egg sac. I was probably looking at around 40,000 black widows, hatched and unhatched.



Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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On another note, I assume the first peer review for this category has failed. So this can be an overall good result, because now we can work together to flesh out and explain the category, to make it interesting, global, and fun to seek out! :)


Let's start with writing a really good category description, so that everyone knows what to look for and what will be accepted into the category.


I really like the idea of including old dry stack walls, because I think that will be more likely to make a global category. I would shorten the length requirement from 50 meters to 20 meters, since many of these walls have been shortened or breached in modern times to allow tractors to pass, or because large parcels of land have been broken up and sold off.


I also like the proposed words "built without mortar" to explain the kind of construction sought, since this is easy to recognize if a building has mortar or not. I do think that some amount of mortar could be accepted here, and I think Yves is thinking so too, when he writes about "constructions made with the stones found on the spot and without masonry ... except the very localized masonry for the waterproofing of a place intended to store food there." Localized masonry (mud chinking, like between logs of log cabins?) could be used for many more applications other than waterproofing for food storage. As referenced in horrifying detail above, mud chinking could keep out the deadly creepy-crawlies! We need to define what amount of mortaring will be acceptable, and for what purpose. Some walls could be mortared after being repaired, for example.


I have been sniffing around a bit, and I have found an example of a dry stack limestone rock church, built by German immigrants, with just a little ground local limestone mortar used on the doorway and window arches to keep them whole. Would this fit into this category?


Will ruins be accepted?


What proof of the dry-stack technique will be required? A sign, a historic marker, a blog post, a local historical commission article would be great to have, but I think should probably be optional, since many rock walls for example will lack these kinds of proofs.


How many photographs? I think at least 2: one of the whole structure (or as much as can be captured) and one close-up showing the dry stack technique.


OK -- those are my thoughts so far :)


Comments? Additions? :)

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Theses structures are very interesting and I think a category for them would be great.


But I am not sure about what should be included or excluded. This can make a huge difference. I don't think it is a good idea to mix architecture and purpose. When it's a dry stone building then it's a dry stone building. Why mention shelter or storage? Would a dry stone dwelling house or a dry stone church or fortification not be accepted?


There are many prehistoric dry stone structures all over the world like the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, Machu Picchu, Japanese Castles just to mention three famous examples on three continents. Should they be included?


Terracing of agricultural area in mountainous areas is often done with dry stones, e.g. in vineyards. Are they included as dry stone walls?


What about gabions?


In my area there are many new dry stone walls for different purposes like noise reduction along motorways and railway lines, landslide protection or simply to give a habitat to endangered species of reptiles and insects(You would not do that in Texas, would you?). Include?


There also seems to be a current trend to use dry stone walls in current park and garden architecture around here.


What about this structure? It looks like a garden, but the real purpose of this structure is to separate the animals to their respective owners after the common alpine summer pastures before they are taken to their winter quarters in the valley. It is over 600 years old and still used the same way as in the beginning:




This idea can become a nice category, but there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of questions to be answered.

Edited by fi67
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Fi -- as to your question, Oh hell no, we Texans would never INTENTIONALLY make a home for varmints and venomous creepy crawlies! It's why outdoor insect hotels are very very very very not much done here LOL - doesn't make much sense to build them, then have to spray them to knock out the scorpions and black widows!! (Eek)


Now as to the rest of your post, I like your examples of ancient dry stacked structures. Dry stack garden walls are coming back here in the US, but I'm not sure we want to waymark the new dry stack stuff. But other than that I agree that it's the METHOD that's important and interesting, and the purpose of the structure, while interesting, should not be used to exclude dry stacked structures.


I'm hoping Yves will come back here and give us his thoughts - it's his proposal :)

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Hello everyone,


After the rejection of my proposal, it is clear that I want to rework my idea to take into account the constructive remarks of the community.


However, I wanted to wait a week before going back on this project to remain relevant, not emotional.


I will therefore re-read all the remarks (translate them first!).


As a general rule, if the descriptions, restrictions should be rewritten, the main subject should remain the original one and which in France is well known as a "dry stone hut" although for the understanding of all it is necessary to rename In "Dry stone hut built without mortar" (the name is not definitive).


This type of constructions (poorly described in my original document) is the subject ...

of a real culture that is not only local, because both the methoques and the destinations of this type of construction are found from Greece to Portugal ... and even in Ireland, as mentioned here .


Left alone on this idea which was obviously lacking for me in the Waymarking, so this type of construction is known here, input, revisions of the community will be useful to bring the project to its maturity and make it known, accept of all.


see you soon :) :)

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