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Marble Setters, Tile Setters, and Terrazzo Workers


Marble is a limestone that is quarried and mined in many countries. The temples of ancient Greece and the ruins of ancient Rome are testimony that marble setters have been using this type of stone as a building material for thousands of years. Statuary marble, the purest form of marble, is white with a crystalline structure. It was used by skilled tradesmen of ancient Greece to build such structures as the Propylaea (the gateway to the Acropolis) and the Parthenon. Many of the artist Michelangelo's works are made of this marble, and it continues to be used by sculptors today. However, products such as steel and concrete have generally replaced marble as a building material, though it continues to be used on interiors and to some extent on the exteriors of commercial, government, and institutional buildings.

In ancient Greece and Rome, tile setters used marble, clay, and bronze tiles for making roofs. In medieval China, yellow glazed roof tiles with heavy design were used for temples; unglazed roof tiles were often black, suggesting a different firing method from that used for European tiles. Modern architects sometimes still employ large cast-cement roof tiles.

Terrazzo (small pieces of broken stone set in mortar and polished in place) was developed as a building material by the Venetians in the 1500s. Today's terrazzo workers use this very decorative technique mainly for flooring.