Building Stone and State of Conservation of the Built Heritage of Pakistan

Yusuf Awan


The conservation of Historic Monuments is a means of continuity of history as it keeps alive the cultural scene of that historic period to which it belongs. Pakistan is rich in a variety of built heritage and a large proportion of the valuable Heritage is the monuments built with stone. All components of materials, used in the construction of historic buildings, can be categorized as being either organic or inorganic in nature/origin. Organic materials are derived from living things such as wood whereas inorganic materials are obtained from non-living substances such as stone and metal. The Earth’s crust is composed of minerals associated together to form rock. Certain of these minerals have attracted the artists / craftsmen from the earliest times, to use them in buildings and sculpture, because of their special qualities for fine work, e.g. hardness, texture, color and durability. Egyptians were the earliest people who used stone in large quantities in construction of monumental building. The Pyramids of Egypt are estimated to contain more than two million blocks of limestone, each weighing approximately 2.5 tones. Other important examples of the use of stone are Greek and Roman structures, Buddhist buildings etc. The massive and beautiful buildings built by the Mughals in India and Pakistan are examples from not too remote a past. Stone was considered to be so important that at one time all the quarries were in royal ownership. This paper is basically focused on theoretical research regarding scientific knowledge of stone and its use in the buildings, which is essential to be understood, as all the conservation work rests upon it. The information given in this paper has been collected from already published literature on stone and duly referred. This scattered information has been put together for ready reference for the conservationists. Thus the paper provides, in an analytical way, all necessary information on Stone which was found in various pieces of literature. The paper also briefly discusses the Stone heritage of Pakistan and properties included in the list of World Heritage. It is found that 83% of these properties were built with stone. The paper further describes the State of conservation of built heritage in the country. It has been found that a significant part, more than 60%, of the built heritage belongs to stone. Thus the paper gives all the required basic information to the Stone conservationist.

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References accessed on 15-05-2007.

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This information was provided by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Pakistan, Lahore Fort, Lahore.

Awan, M. Y.; PhD Thesis, A Study of Significant Historic Buildings in Lahore leading towards the Formulation of a National Conservation Policy for Pakistan, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK, (1993) 57-78, 386-405.

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