A Major conference on natural stone will be held in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 3-5 April next year.
It is called Stone in Wales: Materials, Heritage & Conservation and is being organised by representatives of the national Museum of Wales, The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), Cadw and the British Geological Survey.
The event is being organised by a committee chaired by Dr Steve Howe at the national Museum of Wales. Among those on the committee is Eric Robinson of the Department of Geology at University College London.
He says: The idea stemmed from the fact that at St Fagans Open Air Museum in Wales there are faithful reconstructions of regional vernacular buildings, all explained on information boards but with scant attention to details of the stone. In themselves the buildings make up a geological map of Wales and this seemed to be a fact too good to let pass unmentioned.
Then there arose the awareness that national heritage (magic word!) required that restorations in the countryside need to be carried out in full recognition of local stone and adherence to traditional methods of building.
Old quarries long since closed might need to be brought back into life and old crafts need to be kept alive as a corollary of all this.
Happily, Cadw, CCW and several other organisations looking after building history in Wales have responded with enthusiasm, if not the necessary funds.
The conference also has the blessings of the Welsh national Assembly, which is allowing the National Museum of Wales to be used free of charge for the conference.
The conference is intended to pull together the complete spectrum of those involved in using stone for building - from those extracting, working, selling and fixing it to architects, planners, conservationists and geologists.
Speakers for the event are accumulating, with the organisers aware of the need to balance academic accounts with practical working experience. The Dry Stone Walling Association has agreed to give a practical demonstration of traditional Welsh walling skills during the event.
For information about booking a place at the conference contact John Davies at the CCW and on the conference organising committee.