Ancient Stone Domes

Dry stacked stone domes are an ancient type of natural building.
Dry stacked stone domes are an ancient type of natural building.

“The first image that came to my head when I discovered the superadobe (for information on a bio course in Cantabria) and saw the domes, was the image of our drums. Turns out that the domes comes from old :).

In our area there is a popular building type that goes back far in time and consisting of dry stone domes are formed by rows, just like those of superadobe. What is here called drums, in other nearby places are called cubillos, cuckoos …

There are two main different types. The circular plan, which would be the most similar to the domes we do with superadobe, and quadrangular.”

Read more at the source: Casay

10 thoughts on “Ancient Stone Domes”

  1. “People who live in stone houses shouldn’t throw glasses.”

    –Bill Mollison’s Grandmother (or so Bill claims)

    Then he told a story about Vodka bottles that I can’t remember, but those that have heard him speak before can probably imagine him relating the story.

  2. If you like stone domes you should have a look to some houses called “trulli”. Those are ancient houses still used in south Italy in Apulia region. Those are very old and beautiful houses. In Apulia region you can find entire villages (for instance Alberobello)built in this way and people still live there.

  3. I absolutely agree.

    Stone work is not for the weak… of heart or muscle.

    It’s not an efficient construction method IN THE SHORT TERM. Short in this case defined by the typical length of a home mortgage. However, it may be the most efficient construction technique if measured over centuries where such a home could be passed down many generations.

    Also, stone typically is also very inefficient when it comes to energy use. They are notoriously difficult to insulate, air seal, and vapor seal. Not that all of those cannot be accomplished, but it’s just a lot more difficult and more work.

    Okay Owen, given your frequently professed love affair for roundhouses, and your affinity for buildings in Chaco Canyon.

    When are you going to publish your very own modern Kiva design?

  4. Strawbale, Earthbag, Timberframe, Cob, Stick Built, etc… All excellent construction techniques, but in a way that is exceedingly difficult to articulate, pretenders.

    There is something very special about a stone structure. There is a very special beauty that is simply inherent to stone that no other construction technique can touch. Perhaps this is more of a personal aesthetic opinion on my part, but it’s very striking.

    Whether it be the ancient Native American stone structures in Chaco Canyon, Mayans, Inca, Egyptian structures of antiquity. Greek, Roman, Gothic… on and on and on.

    For millennia, when someone wanted the best, they built with stone. When built well, it lasts for millennia.

    Stone is special.

    Real stone is, anyway.

    Fake stone, or a stone veneer, not so special. That has a very artificial feel that simply doesn’t touch the soul.

    Perhaps that is why I have always wanted to build a Bermuda Roof?

    Perhaps I’m just hard headed. Okay, not just “perhaps”… I AM hard headed. That much I’m positive about, but in this case, I consider that a good thing.

    • Yes, there’s something very special about stone. The durability is unquestionable. I’ve been to Chaco Canyon and other ancient sites and there’s a definite magical quality in these places that’s hard to describe.

      Stone is very enjoyable to work with on small projects. Each stone is unique and beautiful. However, the labor involved on large projects can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re not careful and take on too much, the project starts to control your life. Do you want to spend years of work lifting thousands of stones over and over? Remember, most stones have to be lifted/moved multiple times. This can wear down even healthy people. I suspect most people are not cut out for that kind of work. For most, stone is best used on foundations (including stone facing), entryways, paths, fireplaces, benches, etc.

      I wonder if the stone for the dome shown here was part of clearing land for agriculture. That’s how many of the old stone walls were built. Also, there may have been a lack of other suitable, easier to use building materials such as wood.

    • Humans have always provided shelters for themselves using whatever was locally available. There are certainly many interesting options. Note how the stones in the stone domes are cantilevered slightly (overlapping the previous layer of stone). This is the same principle used in earthbag domes.


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