lipprose Werner Nolte über mittelalterliche Architektur und Geschichte
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Mortarless Gothic structures

In ancient times and in more primitive cultures, buildings were often constructed without mortar. The Egyptian pyramids are a prominent example.

The Inca’s placed massive blocks of stone on top of each other without mortar.

Still in the seventeenth century, the trulli in Puglia were built in this manner.

The tomb of the Ostrogoth king Theoderich in Ravenna (around 520) was built without mortar, but so were also – and this is striking – most of the small Visigothic churches in modern Spain, which almost all date from the seventh century.


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The Ostrogoths and Visigoths used the same technique, although the two people separated at the end of the third century.


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The question is whether there were still close ties between the Ostrogoths in Italy and the Visigoths on the Iberian Peninsula. After all, Theodoric the Great was king of the Visigoths for a few years. His daughter married a Visigothic nobleman

Could an example of mortarless construction from the sixth century (Theoderich’s Tomb) have served as a model for the small Visigothic churches in modern Spain, built more than a hundred years later?

It cannot be ruled out.

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