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Opinion | The Lesson of the Château de Calberte
The Lesson of the Château de Calberte

Michael Goldfarb. NYTimes. July 19, 2018

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He explained that when he and Ms. Darnas had first seen the place the walls had long since caved in on themselves. The couple pulled the stones out and eventually solved the jigsaw puzzle of how they had originally been assembled. He pointed to the different layers of stone just above our heads. The first layers were flat and had been cut by masons in such a way that they fit together effortlessly with very little mortar. He asked me to look a little higher. The stones were smaller and more haphazardly arranged.

His theory was the workmen who initially built the chateau had very advanced masonry skills. But over the centuries, as the region suffered war, plague and economic collapse, those skills had been lost. The last workmen who expanded the chateau simply didn’t know the advanced stonecutting techniques.
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