Historic Mortars: Advances in Research and Practical Conservation

John Hughes (Editor), Jan Válek (Editor), Caspar J. W. P. Groot (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


The characterisation of mortars found in historic masonry structures, and the design of compatible repair and replacement materials, that maintain the authenticity and integrity of heritage assets, is a perennial topic in the conservation of the built cultural heritage. It is a recurring theme worthy of continued research, which the current series of Historic Mortars Conferences, begun in 2008 in Lisbon,1 was established to address.

The papers contained herein were chosen from those first presented at the third Historic Mortars Conference in Glasgow in 2013. This book contains a state of the art in three thematic areas related to the place of mortar materials, in their diversity, in historic structures. This volume is a companion to the earlier “Historic Mortars: Characterisation, Assessment and Repair” (Válek et al. 2012), related to the second Historic Mortars Conference held in Prague in 2010.

The content covers aspects of mortar characterisation, the development of new materials, the historical contexts of mortar production and more theoretical and experimental materials developments. A developing focus in mortar studies is that on the occurrence, nature and conservation potential of historic hydraulic materials, such as Roman cements and early Portland cement. In part, this represents an expanding and more nuanced understanding of materials used in the past that challenges the assumptions of “best practice” of recent decades. Studies of processes for small-scale binder production sit alongside characterisation studies that bring forward increasing details of the compositions and performances of historic materials. This has relevance today, as we study materials with life cycles beyond the comprehension of most contemporary designers and builders. Hopefully, this research will shed light on the possibilities for improved sustainability derived from historically inspired materials use.

1 Perhaps, the earliest dedicated mortars conference was held in Rome in 1981. Then, there was Paisley in 1999 and Delft in 2005, and these latter two events related to the activities of the RILEM TCs on Historic Mortars (TC-COM and TC-RHM). More recently, there have been HMC 08 (Lisbon), 10 (Prague), 13 (Glasgow) and 16 (Santorini).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-91606-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-91604-0
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018
EventHMC13- 3rd Historic Mortars Conference - Mitchell Library, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sept 201314 Sept 2013
Conference number: 3


  • Mortar
  • historic mortar
  • masonry
  • conservation
  • heritage


Dive into the research topics of 'Historic Mortars: Advances in Research and Practical Conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this