I have undertaken investigations into drystone wall construction and wall integrity at road and railway sites in the Cotswolds (England), Snowdonia (Wales) and in the Cevennes (France). With my colleagues at the University of Bath, this has included fruitful interactions and collaborations with local (artisan) builders and with drystone retaining wall owners (e.g. local authorities).
Drystone retaining walls form an essential part of the infrastructure in hilly and mountainous regions, in both the developed and developing world. The construction of drystone retaining walls reflects the local building expertise and the types of locally available stone. The stones are assemble without mortar, to provide a low-energy, sustainable form of retaining wall construction to support roads, buildings, and agricultural terraces.
Publications describing this work can be found here