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De Doornikse steen, bouwmateriaal sinds de Romeinse periode en een parel tussen de Belgische marmers

TitleDe Doornikse steen, bouwmateriaal sinds de Romeinse periode en een parel tussen de Belgische marmers
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGroessens, E
Book Title3de Vlaams-Nederlandse Natuursteendag, 14-15 mei 2009, Gent. Vergane glorie of glorieus verdergaan?
Series TitleGeological Survey of Belgium Professional Paper
Pagination025 - 076
PublisherKoninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen, Belgische Geologische Dienst
CityJennerstraat 13, 1000 Brussel
ISBN Number0378-0902
Keywordsblack marble, Portland cement, Tournai limestone, Tournaisian

Tournai limestone, a building stone since Roman times, unique amongthe Belgian marbles. Tournai limestones have been quarried since Roman times. Nowadays, quarrymen distinguish the grey beds quarried below a volcanic ash layer called Gras-délit and the blue beds from above. The Tournai black marble is produced from the blue beds. These limestones occur in the Upper Tournaisian strata (Mississippian) exposed on both sides of the River Scheldt. The general chemical composition of these limestones is close to the ideal Portland Cement and most of the quarries have switched to current production.After the fall of the Roman Empire; the stone industry disappeared almost completely from our regions. Tournai will be the first city to reopen the quarries in order to build the local cathedral (1110-1171), the main romanesque monument of the country. An important craft industry aroseand hundreds of churches and civil buildings in Flanders, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain and farther away are proud of their Tournai marble fonts, tombstones or other architectural elements. The Gothic period contributed to the emergence of other building stones lighter and easier to sculpt. Along the Scheldt River, in Flanders as well as in the Netherlands, the use of Tournai limestones will last longer but the decline will continue and the trade activities will stop at the end of the XVth century. During the reign of Louis XIV, the urban development stimulated the recurrence of Tournai stone as decorative element of the façades. The fashion of whitewashingthe buildings which started during the reign of Louis XVI and further increased during the Empire restricted the use of limestone for the basement of local buildings. The reign of the Portland cement could then start.

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