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Dry Stone Wall

17 Jul 2017

A dry stone wall, fence or suhozid is a structure made of natural stone without the use of a binding material such as mortar. The construction of dry stone walls, and other structures made without mortar, demand special skills and traditions handed down over generations. They are a significant part of the cultural heritage of the greater Mediterranean area stretching back to ancient times.

In prehistoric times when neolithic farming took hold in the European hinterland, former cave-dwelling people built their homes, fences and animal shelters using wood. Meanwhile, in southern Europe and along the Mediterranean, wood was in large part difficult to find, and due to frequent droughts and resulting wildfires, wooden structures were also impractical. Different building techniques developed in these areas which took advantage of the plentiful stone harvested from the rocky terrain.

It was in this way that dry stone construction began to shape Dalmatia and the structures which dominate the area even today. In addition to walls, the technique was used to build small dwellings; fences encircling vineyards, arable land and pastures; and in the construction of wells. The Premužić trail, a 57 kilometre-long path cutting through the highest peaks of northern and central Velebit, is yet another famous example of mortarless architecture.

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