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"Reintroducing Stone and Mortar Movements, Materials, Methods and Motivations of Builders and Patrons in Early Medieval England, Switzerland and Italy" (RESTOMO)
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"In the Early Middle Ages stone architecture was reintroduced to many parts of European by secular and ecclesiastical authorities who recruited building specialists from distant regions. This project will analyse how and why this radical change from wood to stone architecture took place by investigating the movements, materials, methods and motivations of builders and patrons.Previous research has focused on texts and objects. For example, Bede speaks of workmen from ""Francia"" building Wearmouth abbey. There in Wearmouth are also remains of mechanical mortar mixers, an archaeological feature that is known from numerous sites between Naples and Newcastle. The best-known group of expert builders, the so-called “magistri commacini”, is connected to historical sources (e.g. ""Leges Langobardorum"") and finds (e.g. S-Z-styli) as well. Turn of the first Millennium Rodulfus Glaber sees the world clad in a “white mantle of churches” by building activity.In this project, this traditional approach will be complemented and contrasted using a GIS-based analysis of the historic landscape and building materials in three selected regions where previous scholarship offers excellent foundations for new research: England, Switzerland, and Italy.At the regional scale, the research will examine geomorphologic conditions and natural resources in relation to travelling routes, settlement patterns and density of population in the Early Middle Ages. This will create a clearer picture of the respective living and working conditions of the building specialists as well as the resources, connections and intentions of their employers. The stone buildings had influence on the way people experienced the landscape as well as the inside of the buildings enabled them to new ways of visual and aural impressions. Even before that, change could be percieved with the setting up of the building site."

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