Dry stone walls: local identity

(2021 - 2022) 2000€ awarded

The challenge

Cycladic heritage is intertwined with the elements and the natural environment elements. Traditional building techniques (such as stone walls, terracing and irrigation in keeping with the natural landscape) are an integral part of the local culture of each Cycladic island. Dry stone walls also help to preserve the biodiversity of the islands by retaining soil and water, and being a safe barrier for diseases and a safe space for reptiles. 

Cycladic craftsmen have created distinct and unique ways of ‘tying’ locals rocks into sturdy dry stone wall structures. As contemporary universal building materials and techniques become dominant, traditional techniques that have been protecting the Cycladic soil and landscape for centuries are threatened…

 

The solution 

We have partnered with Mitato of Amorgos to bring you “Amorgian Craftsmanship” : the very first Dry Stone Masonry workshop of its kind! 

This hands-on workshop is aimed at professionals, such as builders and contractors, and takes place on the island of Amorgos to promote dry stone masonry, pass knowledge from experienced craftsmen to younger professionals, and present the craft to a wider audience.

 

 

What does the project deliver in practice?

The 5-day workshop includes activities such as: 

  • Restoration of dry stone walls 
  • Cobblestone path building in the area between Agios Nikolaos and Vigles in the Kamari-Vroutsi area. 
  • Informative seminars from two local stonemasons who will be supported by apprentices and visitors. 
  • Informative seminars from experienced masons from other parts of Greece: Mr Dimitris Lagos from the region of Epirus, and the younger masons Mr Andreas Polizois and Mr Tolis Nakos from Aitoloakarnania and the Peloponnese.

Watch an informative video about the workshops here.

 

Latest updates 2023 

Mitato of Amorgos is proud to announce that it will be hosting its third annual “Amorgian Craftsmanship” workshop from the 16th to the 20th of October 2023. 

This year, the Workshop coincides with celebrations for the 20-year anniversary since the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 2003). Our workshop will therefore also be a celebration of our intangible cultural heritage, and an opportunity to reflect upon future actions that can be taken towards safeguarding and managing this heritage.

 

 

A bit about the organisation

The Mitato of Amorgos was founded in 2020, out of a love for the natural and cultural environment of Amorgos and the Cyclades in general. Its founders felt strongly that they should protect and promote the man made heritage of Amorgos, and its deep connection to the surrounding nature.

The development of the tourism industry has had both positive and negative impacts on the pristine nature of Amorgos. The founders of Mitato wished to use their collective as a space in which to question which of these impacts should be carried forward, and which left behind.

They ask, “How can we learn from the past? How can we shape a high quality touristic product? How can inhabitants and visitors alike be informed on the sensitive balances within the island complex? How can natural and cultural wealth be promoted?”

Their projects aim to raise awareness around environmental issues in the local community, to help the young people get in touch with traditional crafts (such as dry stone building) and to transfer traditional knowledge to the next generation (combining it with modern techniques and methods).

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