Crushed stone is the only stone commonly used today in foundations and structural work, either as aggregate in concrete or as levelling or loose fill under foundations. In his essay 'Stone Technology and Resource Development', Asher Shadmon (1983) points out the inconsistency in first crushing stone blocks and then using them in concrete, which in itself is an attempt to copy stone. The extraction and working of stone requires relatively little energy, and at the same time it is a very durable material.
In recent years rough-hewn granite blocks have experienced a minor renaissance; for example in steps, kerbs and other outdoor edgings. Here, compared to concrete, durability as well as aesthetics plays a role. In retaining walls (often seen alongside roads and embankments) large dry stone blocks can quickly be positioned by machine and this has become competitive, especially where the blocks can be quarried locally (Figure 7.5). This provides a solution that combines a good use of resources and very small energy and environmental impact.
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