Stones: A Material and Cultural History (Hardcover)

Stones: A Material and Cultural History By Cally Oldershaw Cover Image

Stones: A Material and Cultural History (Hardcover)


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The story of our deep and multifaceted connections to geological matter—the very bedrock of our lives.
From small beach pebbles to huge megaliths, stones have been revered, collected, enhanced, sculpted, or engraved for practical and artistic purposes throughout the ages. They have been used to delineate boundaries and to build homes and shelters and utilized for cooking, games, and competitions. This surprising and fascinating compendium of stone facts, myths, and stories reveals the impact and importance of stones in our history and culture. Cally Oldershaw introduces the science in an accessible way and covers the aesthetic appeal of stones, their practical uses, and metaphysical properties. With an eclectic mix of examples from the Stone Age to the present, Stones engagingly excavates the story of this essential matter.
Geologist and gemmologist Cally Oldershaw was the first Lady Chair of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and curator of gemstones for the Natural History Museum, London. She is the author of more than twenty books on gemstones and other Earth science topics including volcanoes, earthquakes, oceans, and seas. She lives in Mid Glamorgan, Wales.
Product Details ISBN: 9781789147711
ISBN-10: 1789147719
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: November 29th, 2023
Pages: 296
Language: English
"We start with geology, with the formation of the earth’s crust and its cooling and shifting over aeons. . . . The account moves from the use of stones as weapons and tools to their use in cooking and building. . . . There is so much in this book, as a compendium of stony lore. . . . The finest chapter is the last, and shortest, about people who collect stones. . . . Stones is packed with lapidary detail.”
— Country Life

"From small pebbles to huge megaliths, stones hae been revered, used for decoration, trade, shelter and cooking. Here Oldershaw, geologist and gemstone curator at the Natural History Museum, tells . . . why they are the bedrock of society."
— Sunday Post, Scotland

"In her new book Stones, author Oldershaw shares some of the surprising and fascinating facts, myths and stories to reveal the importance of stones in our history and culture."
— People's Friend Magazine

"Who knew that stones, from the humble pebbles on the beach to the awe-inspiring megaliths of Stonehenge, had such marvelous stories to tell? I would urge anyone who has ever picked up a tiny fragment of our planet and wondered what it was and how it got there to read this splendid account by Oldershaw. It will open a new door to the earth beneath your feet, and ensure that you never again look at a scrap of chalk or a piece of granite in the same way."
— Bill McGuire, professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, and author of "Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide"