Understanding the decay of stone-built heritage

Bernard J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, Stephen McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The problem of the decay and conservation of stone-built heritage is a complex one, requiring input across many disciplines to identify appropriate remedial steps and management strategies. Over the past few decades, earth scientists have brought a unique perspective to this challenging area, drawing on traditions and knowledge obtained from research into landscape development and the natural environment. This paper reviews the crucial themes that have arisen particularly, although not exclusively, from the work of physical geographers — themes that have sought to correct common misconceptions held by the public, as well as those directly engaged in construction and conservation, regarding the nature, causes and controls of building stone decay. It also looks to the future, suggesting how the behaviour of building stones (and hence the work of stone decay scientists) might alter in response to the looming challenge of climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-461
Number of pages23
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


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