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Stone Wall Science

 

 

Stone Wall Science

Any person who appreciates stone walls can describe them as they wish.  But if stone walls are ever to be properly inventoried and investigated scientifically, we must begin the process of developing a common language that can be used to share and discuss information with each other.

This list contains the key terms that Robert Thorson uses to describe stone walls in his lectures, workshops, and courses.  Most of the terms are names for categories.  For example, under Chapter 2, all stones are divided into five basic sizes and eight basic shapes.

The definitions for each term can all be found in the corresponding chapter and section of his recent book Exploring Stone Walls. He does not define terms used in Chapter 1 (life and habitat) because a highly refined language already exists for these subjects.  He does, however, generalize terms for minerals and rock type in Chapter 3, because stone wall enthusiasts are less well versed in this highly technical subject.  Most of the terms used in other chapters were created as the most practical way to characterize the subject at hand.  Highly specific subdivisions are not included on the list.

The easiest way to describe any particular stone wall using these terms convert the list into a checklist, then simply check off the term that best describes the wall in question.  For the serious stone wall enthusiast, I recommend that you tape a copy of this list inside the cover of your notebook for reference.

Chapter 1 – Life and Habitat

MICROBES, FUNGI, PLANTS

PLANTS

ANIMALS

Chapter 2 – Stone Size and Shape

BIRTH OF STONES

  • Rock
  • Stone
  • Boulder

SIZE OF STONES

  • Residual
  • Assisted
  • Two-hander
  • One-hander
  • Rubble-Gravel

SHAPE OF STONES

  • Blocks
  • Balls
  • Prisms
  • Rollers
  • Books
  • Disks
  • Slabs
  • Blades

Chapter 3 – Minerals and Rock Type

MINERAL GROUPS

  • Mica
  • Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Feldspar
  • Mafic
  • Calcite

ROCK TEXTURE

  • Interlocking
  • Particle
  • Foliated
  • Massive

ROCK TYPES

  • Granite
  • Basalt
  • Gneiss
  • Schist
  • Quartzite
  • Slate
  • Mudrock
  • Softrock
  • Artificial

STONE MIXTURES

  • Source of Stone
    • Quarrystone
    • Fieldstone
    • Blast Rubble
  • Mixtures
    • Bedrock mix
    • Local mix
    • Wall mix
  • Movement
    • Field transport
    • Farm transport
    • Export

Chapter 4 – Features and Marks

FOSSILS, FOLDS AND OTHER FEATURES

  • Fossils
  • Folds
  • Veins
  • Pegmatite
  • Augen
  • Zenolith
  • Geode
  • Fault
  • Slickenside
  • Conchoidal fracture
  • Dendrite

GLACIER MARKS

  • Striations
  • Bullet stones
  • Polished stones
  • Crescentic marksChattermarks
  • Cracked-egg

WEATHERING

  • Rind
  • Standouts
  • Dugouts
  • Boxwork

TOOL MARKS

  • Engraving
  • Drill holes
  • Chisel marks
  • Saw marks
  • Hammer-blow
  • Scrape

Chapter 5 – Wall Size and Shape

DIMENSIONS

  • Height
  • Width
  • Length

SHAPE

  • Triangular (single)
  • Rectangular
  • Trapezoid (double)

SYMMETRY

  • Symmetrical
  • Asymmetrical

Chapter 6 – Structure and Style

ORDER

  • Dumped
  • Placed
  • Stacked
  • Laid
  • Chinked
  • Artistic

PLACEMENT

  • Courses
  • Tiers
    • Foundation
    • Main (Uniform or Graded)
    • Top (capstones, copestones, dragon’s teeth)
  • Lines
    • Single
    • Double
    • Triple
    • Aprons

MORTAR AND MATRIX

  • Mortared
  • Submerged
  • Drystone
  • Soil-filled

Chapter 7 – Layout & Purpose

TRACE

  • Straight
  • Curved
  • Gapped
  • Zig-zag

TERMINATIONS

  • Dribble
  • Built
  • Buttressed
  • Pinhead
  • Flap

STRUCTURES (Crossings)

  • Barways
  • Gates
  • Stiles (slot, bridge, step)

JUNCTIONS

  • Stones
    • Woven
    • Abutting
  • Traces
    • In-line
    • Corner (L, T, X, Y)

PURPOSE

  • Disposal
  • Structural Support
  • Retain Soil
  • Impound Water
  • Divide Property
  • Enclose
  • Roadside
  • Nonstructural architecture

Chapter 8 – Chronology and Age

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

  • Once-built wall
  • Rebuilt wall

CALENDAR AGE

  • Actual
  • Maximum
  • Minimum
  • Bracketing
  • Correlation

ABANDONMENT AGE

  • Recent
  • Decades-old
  • Centuries-old
  • Millennium-old

CULTURAL STAGE

  • Pre-European
  • Pioneering
  • Established Farm
  • Forest-and-city
  • Reclamation

Chapter 9 – Classification and Naming

See list under taxonomy

TAXON RANK

  • Domain
  • Class
  • Family
  • Type
  • Subtype
  • Variant

Chapter 10 – Stone-Wall Landscapes

TERRAIN

  • Bedrock summits
  • Upland (rolling hills)
  • Valley sides
  • Meltwater zone
  • Floodplain

STONE WALL PROVINCES

  • Granite-gneiss
    • Block
    • Mix
    • Boulder
  • Fieldstone
    • Slab
    • Mix
    • Boulder
  • Softrock
    • Highland
    • Hillside
    • Lowland
    • Island
  • Imported

SUBREGIONS (= states)

  • Northwoods
  • Gulf of Maine
  • White Mountains
  • Green Mountains
  • Southwest Highlands
  • Southeast Hills
  • Sandy Coast

Chapter 11 – Walls to Visit

TOURIST WALLS

NOTEWORTHY WALLS

  • Rock Type
  • Size and Form
  • Geography
  • Value Judgments

Epilogue – Stone Walls and the Ecosystem

Appendix

MAPS

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

CLASIFICATION KEY

LIFE LIST OF WALLS