Structural Aspects of Traditional Cretan Masonry Conference Paper uri icon


  • The island of Crete has a long tradition of stone masonry construction, beginning over 8000 years before present. As noted by architectural historians, the vernacular architecture of modern (pre-World War II) villages on Crete has many close parallels with house remains uncovered in the archaeological record of the Minoan Bronze Age (ca. 3000-1050 BCE). Archaeologists have used modern ethnographic comparisons effectively to shed light upon issues ranging from the interpretation of ancient house plans to a better understanding of construction techniques, the use of local resources, and the effects of abandonment processes on the built environment. A full-scale replica of a typical Cretan house from the 12th-11th century BCE (Late Minoan IIIC period) is planned for construction in College Station. The first stage of the building will comprise a single room, ca. 6.20 m by 5.20 m, constructed of stacked limestone with minimal earth mortar, timber ceiling beams and laths, a layer of brush, and topped with a flat clay overlay. The purpose of this paper is to outline the design and structural analysis of the building, and to discuss issues related to construction processes, climate, and ventilation that may apply to both archaeological/historical and modern contexts. Modern interest in this traditional type of building technique stems from the use of limestone blocks in construction, and the potential it has to be a key element of the greening of building construction practices. This study forms one element of a major study of limestone and its uses.

name of conference

  • 15th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the 15th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Glowacki, K. T., Nichols, J. M., & Holland, N. L.

complete list of authors

  • Glowacki, KT||Nichols, JM||Holland, NL

editor list (cited editors)

  • Roman, H., & Parsekian, G.

publication date

  • January 2012