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This page provides information on various analyses conducted by Chicora (or by others who might be willing to have the information listed or a link indicated, such as Historic Charleston Foundation). The goal is promote dissemination of information so that others working in the field will have access to comparative data. The Chicora data come primarily from either archaeological investigations that have resulted in the exposure of architectural ruins or through work on various cemetery projects.

Mortar Analysis

We have attempted to provide a concise description of the various samples in order to make the information more useful to others, including information on the date of the sample, the type of masonry, a brief interpretation, and the type of analysis. Interpretation, of course, can be problematic and we encourage others to make their own interpretation based on the data presented. Where type of analysis is listed, the primary two are either "simple acid digestion," meaning the technique presented by E. Blaine Cliver ("Tests for the Analysis of Mortar Samples," APT Bulletin, vol. 6, no. 1 (1974), pg. 68-73) or "gas collection" meaning the technique presented by H. Jedrzejewska ("Old Mortars in Poland: A New Method of Investigation," Studies in Conservation, vol. 5, no. 4 (1960), pg. 132-138). For a review of these techniques, and the issues surrounding mortar analysis, see Lorraine Schnabel, "Mortar Analysis," Building Renovation, Sept./Oct. 1993, pg. 25-28. The samples are listed below in chronological order of their analysis. In general the presence of either significant levels of soluble complex silicates or fines indicates that the mixes were slightly to moderately hydraulic. Those samples containing <10% solubles or fines are identified as non-hydraulic. Those samples with >10% and especially >20% are identified as moderately hydraulic and possibly natural cements.

Recently Lorraine Schnabel, in her article "Mortar Analysis Part 2: Analytical Methods" in the APT Bulletin, vol. 40, no. 2 (2009), questions the usefulness of either approach. Schnabel comments, "Advances in the field of mortar analysis have unequivocally demonstrated that the simple acid-digestion methods proposed by E. Blaine Cliver and H. Jedrzejewska are not suited to the general analysis of historic mortar. These methods are limited, in that they have no utility for mortars with acid-soluble aggregate, and Cliver's method is fundamentally flawed in the conclusions that can be drawn regarding original binder composition."

The bulk of this criticism is based on the study by John Stewart and James Moore, "Chemical Techniques of Historic Mortar Analysis," in Mortars, Cements, and Grouts Used in the Conservation of Historic Buildings (ICCROM, 1981), pg. 297-310. Stewart and Moore used the Cliver and Jedrzejewska methods to test a series of standard mortars of known composition. Cliver's method failed to correctly identify the composition of any of the test mortars. Jedrzejewska's method was more successful, but the technique is "temperamental in practice" making it difficult to obtain consistent, and replicable, results. In addition, it is of limited use when the mortar contains significant amounts of hydraulic material.

While Schnabel advocates the use of petrographic, XRD, and SEM studies, these are far more expensive and few clients are prepared to fund such studies. The results below should be interpreted and used with caution.

An article that may be interest is "Analyzing Mortars and Stuccos at the College of Charleston: A Comprehensive Approach." This article demonstrates how the use of petrographic and atomic absorption studies can provide a wealth of information not available from more simple wet chemistry techniques.

Sample No. (click to view pdf report) Location Approximate Date of Sampled Material Type of Masonry Interpretation Type of Analysis Organization
1

Berkeley Co., SC; Mulberry Plantation House

1714 pointing mortar lime mortar

gas collection

Historic Charleston Foundation
2 Berkeley Co., SC; Middleton Place ruin ca. 1740 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
3 City of Charleston; 131 Church St., S elevation ca. 1809 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
4 City of Charleston; Nathaniel Russell House, E elevation 1811 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
5 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, S elevation 1817 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
6 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, Dependency 1817 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
7 City of Charleston; 82 Pitt St., W elevation 1840 pointing mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
8a City of Charleston; 16 Charlotte St, gate post 1834-1840 tuckpointing mortar see analysis gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
8b City of Charleston; 16 Charlotte St, gate post 1834-1840 pigmented dark mortar see analysis gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
9 City of Charleston; 16 Charlotte St, fence 1834-1840 white pigmented mortar see analysis gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
10a City of Charleston; 9 East Battery, 2nd floor, E elevation ca. 1838 pigmented dark mortar see analysis gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
10b City of Charleston; 9 East Battery, 2nd floor, E elevation ca. 1838 tuckpointing mortar see analysis gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
11 Berkeley Co., SC; Middleton Place ruin ca. 1740 bedding mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
12 City of Charleston; 60 Tradd St., garden party wall, E elevation 1726 bedding mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
13 City of Charleston; 54 Tradd St, kitchen building, N elevation ca. 1740 bedding mortar lime mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
16 Charleston Co., SC; Brick House, Edisto Island, quoins ca. 1725 stucco lime stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
17 Charleston Co., SC; Brick House, Edisto Island, niche decoration ca. 1725 stucco lime stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
18 City of Charleston; 54 Tradd St, E elevation quoin ca. 1740 stucco lime stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
19 City of Charleston; 60 Tradd St, E elevation quoin 1726 stucco lime stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
21 City of Charleston; Second Scots Presbyterian Church, N elevation 1811 stucco lime stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
22 City of Charleston; 328 East Bay, W elevation 1838 pointing mortar natural cement mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
23 City of Charleston; Bennet Rice Mill 1844 pointing mortar natural cement mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
24 City of Charleston; 9 Limehouse, scored and pencilled 1856 pointing mortar natural cement mortar gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
25 City of Charleston; St. Philips tower base, torus molding, E elevation 1839 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
26 City of Charleston; City Market, W elevation 1841 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
28 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, S elevation 1835 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
29 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, Art Gallery, N elevation 1858 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
30 City of Charleston; 8 Meeting St ca. 1850 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
31 City of Charleston; City Jail, Magazine St., N elevation ca. 1850 stucco natural cement stucco gas collection Historic Charleston Foundation
04-001 Dorchester Co., SC; archaeological site 38DR141, main house 18th c. plaster base coat oyster shell base coat simple acid digestion Chicora
04-002 Dorchester Co., SC; archaeological site 38DR141, main house 18th c. interior stucco over brick lime and sand stucco simple acid digestion Chicora
04-003 Dorchester Co., SC; archaeological site 38DR141, main house 18th c. pointing mortar shell lime mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-004 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, UID structure 18th c. interior stucco over brick possible lime and NHL stucco simple acid digestion Chicora
04-005 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, UID structure 18th c. "mortar" floor lime and shell, very little sand simple acid digestion Chicora
04-006 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, main house ca. 1850 pointing mortar, brick pier lime/NHL and sand mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-007 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, ice house early 20th c. "mortar" floor sand and lime mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-008 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, slave structure ca. 1850 pointing mortar, brick pier rich lime mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-009 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH932, ice house early 20th c. pointing mortar, wall probable OPC mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-010 Charleston Co., SC; Old City Jail ca. 1830 exterior stucco possibly a OPC stucco repair simple acid digestion Chicora
04-011 Georgia; Midway Church unknown exterior stucco on churchyard wall ca. 40% fines suggests a NHL or natural cement stucco simple acid digestion Chicora
04-012 Albany, Georgia; Oakview Cemetery, Vault196 late 19th c. pointing mortar probable lime-sand mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
04-013 Albany, Georgia; Oakview Cemetery, Vault 45 late 19th c. pointing mortar possible lime and NHL mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
05-001 Colleton Co., SC; Pon Pon Cemetery, plot wall late 18th c. pointing mortar possible lime and NHL/natural cement mortar simple acid digestion Chicora
05-002 Colleton Co., SC; Pon Pon Cemetery, plot wall late 18th c. tuck pointing rich lime mortar, possibly some NHL simple acid digestion Chicora
05-003 Colleton Co., SC; Pon Pon Cemetery, plot wall late 18th c. stucco on interior of wall lime and sand stucco simple acid digestion Chicora
05-004 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, W elevation 1817 pointing mortar   gas displacement Chicora
05-005 City of Charleston; Aiken-Rhett House, rear yard wall 1817 pointing mortar possible natural cement mortar? gas displacement Chicora
05-006 City of Charleston; City Jail, Magazine St., N elevation ca. 1850 stucco natural cement stucco gas displacement Chicora
05-007 Calhoun Co., SC, Fort Motte Jail, rear doorway 1906 bedding mortar lime, PC and/or NHL mortar gas displacement Chicora
05-008 Virginia Lime Works, Natural Cement, 1:3 mix 28-day set mortar 1:3 mix natural cement gas displacement Chicora
05-009 Edison Coatings Rosendale Natural Cement 28-day set mortar1.6:0.4:1 mix natural cement gas displacement Chicora
05-010 Edison Coatings Rosendale Natural Cement 28-day set stucco 1.6:0.4:1 mix natural cement gas displacement Chicora
05-011 Union Co., SC, Presbyterian Cemetery, box tomb 17 ca. 1860 bedding mortar lime and NHL mortar gas displacement Chicora
08-001 Chalmette National Cemetery, LA, GAR monument ca. 1900 pointing mortar probable OPC mortar gas displacement Chicora
08-002 Chalmette National Cemetery, LA, GAR monument ca. 1900 bedding mortar possible OPC mortar gas displacement Chicora
08-003 Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH2901, 100R110, lv. 2 late 18th c. bedding mortar lime and NHL mortar? gas displacement Chicora
10-001 Norfolk Co., MA; repointing mortar from the S.V. Arnold tomb in Braintree's Elm Street Cemetery late 20th c. repointing mortar probable OPC mortar gas displacement Chicora
10-002 Norfolk Co., MA; repointing mortar from the E. Thayer tomb in Braintree's Elm Street Cemetery late 20th c. repointing mortar probable OPC mortar gas displacement Chicora
10-003 Norfolk Co., MA; original mortar from the S.V. Arnold tomb in Braintree's Elm Street Cemetery 19th c. bedding mortar high lime mortar gas displacement Chicora
10-004 Norfolk Co., MA; original mortar in granite wall, east side of Braintree's Elm Street Cemetery early 19th c. bedding mortar lime mortar gas displacement Chicora
10-005 St. Augustine, Florida; concrete base for the erection of the coquina pyramids at the St. Augustine National Cemetery 1842 pyramid foundation natural cement petrographic exam U.S. Heritage for Chicora
11-004 Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio. White Pine Chapel 1859 bedding mortar natural cement mortar petrographic exam U.S. Heritage for Chicora
12-001 Chappell Hall, Allen University 1925 bedding mortar lime mortar gas displacement Chicora

Bricks

The table below provides data on a small variety of brick samples identified primarily from archaeological or cemetery sites. As for the mortar analyses above, information is provided on the location, the approximate date, the type of brick, and any analysis that might have been conducted on the brick (regrettably little is available).

Location Approximate Date Type of Brick Size (LxWxH in inches to nearest 1/16") Type of Analysis (click to see results) Organization
Charleston Co., SC; archaeological site 38CH927, main house ca. 1760 soft mud, hand made, sand struck 9⅝ x 4 x 2⅜ (average) none Chicora
Berkeley Co., SC; archaeological site 38BK103, Structure 7, probable rice barn 18th c. hand made 8 x 4 x 3 (average) none Chicora
           

 

 

 


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