At one time dry stone walling was considered an important but basically functional part of the rural environment. In the countryside the wallers were respected as craft workers. Gradually in western Europe the walls and buildings built without cement began to fall into disrepair. This was the result of modern advances in fencing, the move into cities ,the catastrophic wars and a shortage of agricultural workers. Recently there has been a revival of interest. Fashions have changed , programmes on garden design on TV ,a realisation that many traditional crafts were being lost , these and other factors have resulted in many new people starting to enjoy building and appreciating the work. Many of the new comers had no background in the countryside and had a completely different approach to the craft. Now it is seen often as an art and the structures created do not need to be functional. They can be appreciated as works of great skill and often of great art.
This sphere built by Dean McLellan and John Shaw-Rimmington at Canada Blooms Garden Show ,is a fine illustration of what I mean. For more visit http://www.dswac.ca/