Recounting and documenting the art of dry stone walling (xerolithia)
Dry stones, also known as “terraces”, are built “dry” and are located in the zonal lands of the settlement, since the beginning of the settlement’s creation. They help retain water and define ownership boundaries of plots. Dry stones in Mykonos are not used often, due to the gradual abandonment of crops. This gradual abandonment also led to the reduced bequeathal of the construction techniques from generation to generation.
The program involves the creation of an online digital repository website documenting old craftsmen and dry stone construction techniques, along with a pilot dry stone workshop.
The main goal of the Cycladic Identity funded program is to create an open and continuously updated website for the documentation of dry stone and the traditional way of building them, by combining older, archival material (photos, files, drawings), but also recording the remaining craftsmen (film, sound recording). Secondly, a pilot “dry stone school” will be organized with the participation of traditional craftsmen and new artisans. The program will be realized in collaboration with the Urban Planning Research Lab of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and will follow the below mentioned stages:
- Search for and selection of old craftsmen and other long-time residents of Mykonos who can contribute their knowledge of traditional building methods.
- Organization of a series of discussions/interviews, in order to record their experience, their accumulated knowledge, etc.
- Systematic recording and filming by cultural and architectural scientists (graduates of related schools, researchers, etc.), as well as filming the techniques and the overall construction process by specialized staff.
- Cataloging and editing the collected material and drawing conclusions based on the findings.
- Identification of notable and representative examples of dry stone walls that are of particular interest/ visit/ photograph/ analyze/ comment.
- Simultaneously, conduct of research and gathering of sources related to the topic of dry stone walling, including good practices.
- Development of a website and entry of the aforementioned material.
- Coordination of a pilot “dry stone school” involving traditional craftsmen and young artisans, and publicly showcase the project.