lipprose Werner Nolte über mittelalterliche Architektur und Geschichte

Black Holes

During my first encounters with brick buildings I puzzled over the regularly spaced black holes in the walls.
After a while, I understood that these were putlog holes that used to hold horizontal beams. Planks laid across these beams provided an underground to work on.
These cantilever scaffolds were later replaced by bar frames, secured by vertical posts and struts. The entirety was tied with ropes.
Once the height of the wall made walling up another brick layer impossible, the scaffolding was removed and rebuilt at a higher level using the same timbers. The holes usually remained in the wall.
At the Church of St. Mary or Marienkirche in Wismar, enthusiasts of the medieval have recreated a pole framework. 
There was one main reason for the reuse of the timber: lack of wood. Giant primeval forests had given way to fields and meadows. The remainders were heavily claimed: As warships, entire English forests swam across the oceans, whole forests burned unter the salt pans, for example in Lüneburg. The huge roof trusses of big churches also required a lot of wood. Charcoal piles and glassworks had a great need, and there were of course also the home fires.
See also: Ceilings and Vaults
Translation Erik Eising

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