What is limestone? History of Art
Quatr.us answers questions
Upgrade /Log in
Options /Log out
Print
About
Africa
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Early Europe
Greece
Rome
China
India
Central Asia
Medieval
Islamic Empire
Native Americans
S./Central America
American History
Biology
Chemistry
Geology
Math
Physics
Weather
Food
Judaism
Christianity
Home

What is limestone?

limestone

Limestone is a kind of sedimentary stone that is very common all over the Mediterranean and Europe. Limestone is made out of the shells of zillions of little tiny sea snails and creatures like that. These snails and stuff lived in the sea, billions of years ago, and when they died they fell to the bottom of the sea and rotted, but their shells, which were made of calcium like your teeth, did not rot and just stayed there. Pressure from other shells, and from the water, and from sand being washed over the shells, squashed them all together into rock.
Many many years later, the sea changed where it was, and all this calcium-rock (limestone) was left on the land where people could quarry it (dig it up).

When limestone gets even more squashed, it can turn into travertine or marble.

Limestone is also the main way you get lime, which is one of the things you make cement out of. To get lime, you have to burn limestone in lime kilns, and then what is left is lime. In the Middle Ages, people burned most of the statues of ancient Greece and Rome to turn them into lime.

Bibliography and further reading:

DK Eyewitness Guides: Building, by Philip Wilkinson (2000).

Geology: A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press, by Frank Rhodes (2001).

Travertine
Marble
Cement
Tufa
Basalt
Quatr.us home


Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support Quatr.us!

Quatr.us (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

For May Day, read about the history of working people all over the world, starting with ancient Egyptian farmers and wetnurses. How did farming push people into debt and slavery? Move on to ancient West Asian miners, Chinese silk-workers, and the Indian caste system. Read about African-American slavery, sugar plantations, and the Industrial Revolution. Then go march for May Day!