In the emblematic landscape of the Vézère Valley, castles, churches, stately homes or modest rural houses can be found at every bend in the path. Works of humble and anonymous creators, these are trademarks of Périgord. Let us focus on an architectural element common to almost all of these buildings: rammed earth.

The rammed earth of Périgord Noir

From the 17th century, the scarcity of construction wood and the cost of erecting a masonry building in regions poor in building stone accelerated the development and diffusion of masonry constructions. compacted raw earth called rammed earth. Because it required low-cost raw materials and significant labor, rammed earth construction had to be carried out with a great know-how

Rammed earth _ stone of Périgord_February 2023©ALR

The adobe ground is typical of Périgord where farmers collected small pebbles lauze stones (rammed earth) that they shaped hammer in a slightly triangular shape (beveled). To make a sturdy floor, it was enough to push the adobe pebbles onto the very moistened clay. The layout varied depending on the desired effect. The stones over time became smooth with rounded edges. It is important to remember that each land is different and that rammed earth techniques vary.

Creating a floor dressed in this way took time and mobilized all the able-bodied hands of a village. With the advent of new materials and the disappearance of joint work, know-how has now almost entirely disappeared. Nevertheless, there has been renewed interest in recent years for this earthen material in exceptional ecological balance sheet since it has incomparable longevity.

In the Vézère Valley, you can see the durability of the construction of the rammed earth as well as the aesthetic success by visiting the Commarque castle or Losse castle

PCU_S.PISE OMBRE CHMINEE_Château de losse_Thonac_September 2006©Eric-Sanders

These ancient techniques are moving testimonies of a time when construction was done with the means at hand, what was found along the way: thatch, cob, slate, slate, treasures in short. !

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