1) Researcher, University of Florence, Department of Architecture,

2) Full professor, University of Florence, Department of Architecture,


The architectural remains of the Dead Cities in Northwestern Syria represent an extraordinary collection of stone masonry of the late Antiquity. This study aimed to contribute to their knowledge and conservation, through an interdisciplinary research focused on several case studies. Statistical, typological, dimensional, morphological and stratigraphic analysis outlined the features of these building techniques. The results reveal an accurate technological design, combined with solutions adopted during the work. Refined techniques of cutting and interlocking blocks, appropriate changes in height of the courses, created structurally effective walls. The diversified use of local limestone was investigated, together with the main types of decay. The vulnerability of these masonry structures began to be analyzed by mapping signs of instability. Data collected may represent a useful tool for the evaluating damages of the recent war events and for restoration works.


Keywords: limestone, Syria, Dead Cities, Byzantine masonry