This article explores the history and evolution of Hempcrete and Hemp in construction, and the significance of a recent study conducted in Central India.
From November 25, 2014 to December 10, 2014, a study was conducted at the Ellora Caves located 29.8 km to the northwest of Aurangabad city, Maharashtra, India. The study conducted by M. Singh and M. M. Sardesai shows that Hemp plaster was used on the floors, walls, and ceilings throughout the 34 Ellora caves.
*NOTE: Clicking on any image in this article will enlarge it for a better view. If you would like to enlarge a video, simply click the white box on the far right to make it full screen. Then click the white box again or hit "ESCAPE (ESC)" to return to this page.*
Following the Hemp Scent
Credit to my friend and colleague Steve Danks of the United Kingdom for giving me the initial lead to a recent news article about Ellora Caves. I in turn traced the source of the article and found that the actual research paper was being published early this morning. Thank You again Steve for always sharing your knowledge of our beloved plant with me and for throwing me leads from time to time.
In this article you will find data included from various sources combined with my personal research embodied in the Hemp History Timeline.
The basis of this article is due to two respected Indian researchers that made a marvelous historical find and published their data literally this morning on a leading interdisciplinary science journal in India called Current Science. Onward, or better said, backward to ancient India.
Over time, many variations have been tried and improved upon. Today Hempcrete is used in many more applications and often is mixed with various binders i.e. sand, gypsum, metakaolin, pozzolan, or even cement.
The key difference between modern and ancient Hempcrete is the use of the Hemp plant's inner woody core, rather than Hemp stalk fibres.
The woody inner portion of the Hemp stalk, broken into pieces and separated from the fibre in the processes of breaking and scutching, is called Hemp hurd.
The Hemp hurds constitute between 60 to 80% (typically 70%) of the mass of the Hemp stalk and they can contain anywhere from 50 to 80% cellulose depending on the quality and length of the Hemp stalk fibres determined by the seed variety and planting density.
They weigh about five times the equal amount of Hemp stalk fibre in a bale and can hold up to five times their weight of liquid.
Hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the Hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. The Hemp core has a high silica content (approx. 70%) which allows it to bind well with lime. This property is unique to Hemp among all natural fibers.
Hemp and Lime
221 B.C. China Junk (ship) Classic Junks were built of softwoods with the outside shape built first. Then multiple internal compartment/bulkheads accessed by separate hatches and ladders, reminiscent of the interior structure of bamboo they were built in.
For caulking, the Chinese used a mix of ground lime with Tung oil together with chopped Hemp from old fishing nets which set hard in 18 hours.
Hemp mortar was discovered in bridge abutments of Merovingian bridges in France built between 500-751 A.D.
The sunscreen awnings at the Roman Colosseum were called the Velarium and were made of Hemp, flax, or cotton. The Roman sailors worked the rigging from a platform around the Colosseum’s top edge.
Over time people used Hemp in various applications of construction.
One example was to reinforce artificial stone in 1813 A.D. London.
Hemp was also used to seal plumbing pipes in homes until the early 1960's in Western Australia.
Madame France Périer had developed cancer in the 1980's. While researching cures, she found that Cannabis was effective. She gained an interest in Hemp and discovered an ancient bridge in France that was made of Hemp mortar. She took her discovery and recreated Hempcrete.
This myth is incorrect for three reasons:
- "She recreated" an ancient building material Hempcrete using Hemp hurds.
- People have misinterpreted something Jack Herer said and circulated the myth.
- The story is not true and there are several sources that reveal the real story. Sadly, no one took the time to research it and most websites simply copy the myth and recirculate it.
1) As I've shown, Hempcrete was originally made centuries ago, and with Hemp stalk fibres, not hurds.
2) Pay close attention to this video. You will see that Jack mentions her building with Hemp and using IsoChanvre. He never says she created modern Hempcrete.
"Isochanvre, a rediscovered French building material made from hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries."
Madame France Périer claims archeologists had found Merovingian and Egyptian Hempcrete structures. Notice her quote "which were very PROBABLY made with these same techniques."
To be fair to her, she doesn't actually say they used Hempcrete in these structures; she says tecniques.
This is a very common mistake I've seen over and over where people misinterpret the fact that Egypt and Rome used lime for construction of ancient structures and assume it was Hempcrete.
After reviewing hundreds of documents and websites, I have yet to find one solid source of any Hemp and lime type building material during the B.C. era.
What I do find time and again, is that websites simply copy and recirculate the idea of Hempcrete in ancient Egypt and specifically Roman aqueducts using each other as the source.
A great deal of the confusion comes from the proven fact that Cannabis (both cousins - Marijuana and Hemp) was used in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece for medicine, ropes, food, and clothing.
Hemp ropes have been used in ancient construction to move blocks of sand and lime in Egypt and to even tie together Roman aqueducts; not for construction of any blocks used in structures fallen or standing today from the B.C. era.
Founded in 1973, La Chanvrière de l'Aube (LCDA) began as a Hemp fibre processing plant supplying a local paper manufacturer. They later started a co-op with local Hemp farmers after the paper manufacturer moved from the area. They evolved into the largest processors of Industrial Hemp in France.
They soon became a leader in Hemp animal bedding using hurds. Patented in 1980, Aubiose® Hemp bedding became a massively profitable industry for LCDA in France, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Their initial area was about 6,000 acres of Hemp around their factory in Bar-sur-Aube, In 2012, they expanded to a 100-km radius with 12,000 plus acres of Hemp cultivation. The region of Hemp cultivation has shifted to twenty kilometres North East of Troyes. They have about 350 farmers in the co-op currently.
Charles Rasetti, an Italian master brick mason and builder, had a realization as a boy:
" In 1958, I realized the shortcomings of traditional construction. I then devoted to Improve Housing. That's my credo."
He knew that the natural and breathable properties of Hemp were nothing new and began to experiment. He did some trials with the "rouissait" (retted) Hemp stalk.
*Retting, comes from the word rot. The process breaks down the lignan in the Hemp stalk making it easier to extract the fibres. This is the ideal for long fibres for textiles, but retting lowers the cellulose in hurds. For higher quality hurd, it is better to mechanically break the stalks of freshly cut Hemp with a Decorticator.
Rasetti's first tests didn't achieve good results. He remembered the article mentioned that LCDA was using a mechanical process to extract hurd and that was what was new. They were getting very high quality hurd with higher cellulose and silica percentages, thus that was why they were so successful with Aubiose®.
He promptly made an appointment with LCDA and Monsieur Le Texier showed him their hurd. He began new tests with LCDA hurd; applying masonry methods he learned from his father.
Collaborating with La Chanvrière de l'Aube, they created Canobiote® in 1986; that year they patented Canobiote® and Canamose®. Shortly after, the very first official use of modern day Hempcrete was used to renovate a famous and historic French building.
Built around 1550 A.D., Maison de la Turque located in Paris, France, was gutted and refilled with Canobiote® Hempcrete walls, flooring, and ceiling in 1986. This was the first structure to use what is today's most ecological building material, Hempcrete!
*Charles Rasetti had taken out 5 patents between 1990 and 1997.
1987 - Former professional dancer at the French Opera, later with Maurice Béjart at FESTIVAL D'AVIGNON (1969), and at Persepolis for celebrations of the Shah of Iran (1971), craftsman Yves Kühn begins working with Hempcrete in Luberon.
One of her first projects using Isochanvre® was the renovation of Maison d'Adam.
She also renovated the following historical buildings:
Madame France Périer was very successful at this time and went on to win an award from the Ministry of Housing at Batimat the same year. She did indeed build hundreds of Hempcrete homes using Isochanvre® over the next fifteen years.
Professionals from different regions in France began testing Hempcrete in the early 90's. They experimented by mixing plaster, lime, pozzolan, and brick waste. The first technical tests were performed by Strasservil. (BCB) provided the lime and La Chanvriere de L'Aube provided the chènevote (hurds) Canabiote®.
*There is no direct claim, but it appears he was the one who started building Hempcrete walls with a movable shuttering system as it has been mentioned in various places that he would build that way.
Can - Cannabis and Osmose - "Exchanges at all levels, technical and relational."
He completes several projects with Olivier Duport (at that time his carpenter and frame builder) who later develops the well known prefab bricks of Hempcrete CHANVRIBLOC®.
Self described "Peasant-builder, Artisan-creator of the Canosmose® process," Yves always felt it is better to leave the hurd untreated with silica. As hurds already have a lot of silica, he said it interferes with the absorption properties of the hurds and thus the long-term petrification process.
- Canobiote® was Hemp hurds coated with mineral salts. Hemp hurds are high in silica, this process adds more silica in the theory of adding "stick" to the hurds.
- Canamose® was a lightweight premix of Hemp hurds and natural lime. The hurds are left in a more natural state. Think of it as a "just add water" type of product.
*CanAmose® was a product that LCDA created and patented. CanOsmose® is the process or technique Yves used to build Hempcrete homes with hurds in a untreated state. He sourced his hurds from LCDA; rather than a premix or more silica. He was mixing natural lime, water, and hurds in steps, all separately.
May 1990 - Yves co-authors DTU 26.1 which is tailored to construction with Hemp hurds.
Pascal Favre, Swiss mason contractor in Saint-Barthélémy VD gains interest in Hempcrete and meets with Yves Kühn. Not long after, he starts sourcing hurd from LCDA as there was little or no cultivation of Hemp in Switzerland at that time.
"He convinced me of the interest for Concrete Hemp and taught me some basics."
Pascal Favre, Swiss pioneer of Hemp homes, soon after builds five more houses and renovates another twenty. The Haute école d'ingénierie et d'architecture de Fribourg begins teaching courses with his recipe.
1992 - Pascal establishes Arbio SA building firm.
1995 - architects, project managers, businesses, as well as Hemp and lime manufacturers meet to share experiences and agree on technical specifications.
1996 - Yves Kühn establishes the Association ADAM 1901 law association (1901 law means a non-profit organization) in Montfroc (Tuillière) in the department of Drôme.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Le Mans grants Chènevotte Habitat an export license for England, Quebec, Germany, and Switzerland.
Tony Budden establishes Hemporium in Cape Town, Africa.
1997 - March 19, LCDA receives the patent Grinding device for defibrating, decorticating or depithing plants.
December 5-6, LCDA hosts the first Hemp building conference "2 Jours Pour Construire en Chanvre" in Troyes. 200 French professionals attended showing their interest for information about Hemp. The event focused on an assessment of the first 10 years of Hemp construction and to share the knowledge and experience gained over that time.
They concluded that invaluable experience had been gained and that it was then necessary to take it a step further with other scientific and technical approaches. This prompts studies to establish regulations and safety by CEBTP and ENTPE. They also realize that it is important to have transparency and create meeting spaces and a website to make information and training readily available to professionals and the public.
Steve Allin begins working with Hempcrete in Ireland.
February, La Chanvrière de l'Aube develops Hemp fibre "wool" for insulation products.
Build with Hemp 1901 law association is founded by thirty people to establish uniform regulations and best practices for Hempcrete construction in France.
*They are actually a Hempcrete subdivision of Tiez Breiz 1901 law association based in Rennes, France. Tiez Breiz offers information and training for a healthy and respectful rehabilitation of old buildings in France.
Ironically, they had a general assembly meeting scheduled for April 10, 2016 that had to be rescheduled and moved to another location on Thursday, April 21 at the Hemp Eco-Space in Noyal-sur-Vilaine. Without realizing it, the educational organization that protects some of the most historic structures in France and has a Hempcrete subdivision, will have an important meeting at a Hemp museum and school, made of Hemp, on 4/21 International Hemp Day!!
4/21 Hemp Day Facebook event page
Hemp fibre insulation wool and a specific Hemp/Lime binder for mortars are announced by LCDA.
More than 500 Hemp homes are built in France by 1998.
Olivier Duport establishes CHANVRIBLOC® and brings CHANVRIBLOC® Hempcrete blocks to the market.
Olivier Duport is the president of Build with Hemp 1901 Law Association from 1998 to 2004.
1999 - A western France subdivision of homes Habitation à Loyer Modéré (HLM), retains Isochanvre® for the realization of 26 pavilions.
2000 - The use of Hemp as a building and insulation material has widely spread
throughout all of Europe. Most countries already have Hempcrete standards by this time.
April 29, The Slim Buttes Land Use Association of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, begin building a home for Ernest Afraid of Bear, a 71 year old Sioux elder and spiritual leader.
They made 3 types of Hempcrete blocks with Hemp imported from Canada. One set of blocks were made with Hemp fibre for reinforcement, and the other two with chopped Hemp stalks. These blocks were used as the exterior of the home.
This is the first Hempcrete project in U.S.A., and it also provided construction jobs for community members.
Hempcrete was first used for the construction of two test dwellings in Haverhill, UK.
2001 - Suffolk Housing Society Limited builds the first Hemp homes in the UK.
2003 - August, several members of Hemp industries gather in Montjean and agree that their products and techniques should be integrated within the DTU in the near future providing a precise description of implementation. This recognition would give them the opportunity to insure their buildings; something that has been an issue and concern up to this point.
2004 - February, Built in the nineteenth century, renovation of La Maison diocésaine is completed in Châlons-en-Champagne. Renovation included Hempcrete walls and the interior was finished with Hemp plaster.
June, a charter detailing properties of Hemp for insulation still does not exist in France. Text begins to be drafted by processors, farmers, and Build with Hemp 1901 law association, in collaboration with the French Ministries of Agriculture and Environment.
The University Institute for Heritage Skills in Troyes (IUMP) begins to offer vocational training on the use of Hemp construction.
Belgium's Wolf Jordan, expert of paints, plasters, and renders, begins working with Hempcrete. Not long after, he developes a Hempcrete binder that allows the builder to move shuttering +/- 1 minute after filling a cavity and tamping the Hempcrete mix.
October, after several court proceedings in France, Chènevotte Habitat is found to be trying to monopolize the use of Hempcrete. They were attempting to make Isochanvre® the exclusive product for use in Hemp construction. The court finds that none of the other artisans and businesses were trying to control the market and that Chènevotte Habitat had in turn damaged their reputation. By order of the French courts, Isochanvre® is immediately closed and liquidated.
*I have scowered the net for ANY sign of Madame France Périer, Isochanvre®, and Chènevotte Habitat. No website, no info, not a single article. They have vanished from existence. She got greedy and paid dearly for it. Thankfully, the French courts were wise enough to keep Hempcrete an open and creative market.
Dhiraj K. Shah of Janakpur, Nepal begins researching Industrial Hemp.
The First completed Hempcrete building in Ireland is an office located in Clones, County Monaghan.
2006 - April 4, CANOSMOSE® receives a detailed trademark with logo.
Steve Allin's BUILDING WITH HEMP book is published.
In his book, Steve mentions that he wrote to Madame France Périer asking her about the Merovingian bridge. She replied "I don't know what you are talking about."
2007 - The first professional rules of construction providing training to implement the use of Hempcrete are established in France.
Clay Fields Village builds 26 sprayed Hempcrete homes located in Suffolk, England.
Hempcrete used to build a community center at Kiza Park, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota near Wounded Knee.
2009 - A major program of research and development of Hempcrete is initiated at the University of Bath in the UK to determine why it is so extraordinary of a building material.
September 16-18, The 1st International Hemp Building Symposium in Kenmare, Ireland.
November 20th, The International Hemp Building Association Ltd (IHBA) is formed in Ireland.
2010 - CenC organizes accreditation days for trainers with the objective of guaranteeing the quality of training. These accreditation days are open to any building professional who wishes to provide training in the implementation of Hempcrete according to the normative documents. Note that CenC is an association of French officials, not builders.
Anthony Brenner builds the first U.S. Hempcrete home located in Asheville, North Carolina. Unlike Slim Buttes in 2000, this home is permitted and is a new construction project with walls made of Hempcrete throughout the structure.
2011 - April 27-28, 2nd International Hemp Building Symposium in Granada, Spain.
Ex dancer, biodynamic farmer. and master Hempcrete artisan Yves Kühn leaves us with so many examples of brilliance and understanding. Once asked why did you leave such a prestigious dancing career behind? He replied "What nobler thing could there be than to build an 'envelope' for the human body and spirit?"
From the beginning, he always insisted that people should have the knowledge to work with Hemp available so that anyone could build their own home. No secrets or prohibited methods. Just as much a professor of architecture and heritage as a humble man wanting to give life to people's homes. He coauthored many of the guidelines in practice today and was always eager to teach people how to implement them.
He founded the Association ADAM to "develop, practice, and share experiences and technologies to serve the living." Through his ambition to share the gifts he had so that others could learn for themselves; the Association ADAM brought together a network of over 20 companies creating more than one hundred jobs across France.
The Artistry of Yves Kühn and CANOSMOSE®
An alchemist of nature and architecture; his process was an organic simplicity.
"The timber frame is the skeleton of the building. The Hempcrete is the muscle and flesh of the building; it envelopes and drowns the framing. Like living beings, there is the dermis and epidermis; the finishes that protect and promote exchanges. CANOSMOSE® combines: natural hydrated lime and pure gypsum adding gravel, pozzolan, sand or pumice with untreated Hemp hurd. A bridge between agriculture and architecture."
He did it as it was intended. Not building houses, but rather connecting a structure to nature and those that dwell within the living, breathing Hempcrete walls. He wasn't working, he was giving life back to the elements that give us life. Life that is seen all over France and the world, that will endure for centuries.
Thank You Yves for understanding and appreciating the energetic personality of Hemp. For reminding everyone that it is a part of us and we must surround ourselves with its protective traits.
In this Hempologist's opinion, you were the best to ever do it. "Peasant-builder, Artisan-creator of the CANOSMOSE® process." R.I.P. Yves Kühn, and BONJOUR!
August, The first new construction Hempcrete home is completed in Florida; located in Tarpon Springs.
October 16-17, 3rd International Hemp Building Symposium in Yverdon-Les-Bains, Switzerland. Tony Budden receives the Yves Kühn Award.
November, Kevin Hodge, ex Marine and aeronautical engineer, sees friends and family losing their homes. He gets disgruntled with the U.S. government and banks foreclosing on people's homes. He gets a "flash of inspiration" to build homes with Hemp in a new way.
Days later, he founded Hemp Adobe Homes in Washington state to offer families an inexpensive and beautiful alternative in Hemp construction with prefabricated Hemp walls that are very thin, light, and strong.
"It was my way of sticking it back to the government for their greed and abuse of family's living by affording people an inexpensive way to live in a safe and beautiful environment. A building material that would be fast in curing and robust on many levels to build structures from, in a way of manufacturing panelized homes to supply the needs of human shelters.
By making the homes or structures net zero, it would not cost the homeowners any money to live there. Now I had a scenario to operate from that would be disruptive to the status quo.
By eliminating the labor aspect and using controlled manufacturing, I could be assured of a quality product with longevity; as a healthy environment to be sold and erected in very little time with no skilled labor.
by not offering the structures at conventional stick frame pricing models, I can build homes using the $80/sf model. So in reality, the home should represent a car payment rather than a mortgage.
This in turn affects the whole economy at large. by adding a greenhouse into our pricing structure, the occupants food cost will also plummet."
2013 - Arbio SA is part of the renovation of the International Museum of the Red Cross-GE; creating a tour of "adventure playground" of Pierrefleur in Lausanne. It serves as a sort of model home to promote the merits of Hempcrete.
February, The first Hempcrete home built in California is completed by the Galvin/Kirmse family in Rolling Hills, California.
April, Sanopalati, Sindhupalchowk was a district of Nepal that was hit hard by a 7.8M earthquake destroying 45% of UNESCO cultural heritage sites and 500,000 to 600,000 homes nationwide.
*Note that while half a million homes were floored, less than 50% of heritage structures were destroyed. While it is still too much and very devastating to Nepal, it is a notable difference in ratio. Keep this in mind that more modern structures crumbled at a much higher ratio than ancient ones. This will become relevant further down in this article.
September, Dhiraj K. Shah founded SHIV-Homes Nepal (Shah Hemp Inno-Ventures) in Kathmandu to begin Hempcrete projects for the reconstruction of his country.
Dhiraj K. Shah gives a presentation at the symposium detailing his plans to build new homes and structures in Nepal using naturally growing, local Hemp.
By the 3rd week of October, SHIV-Homes is underway building a Hempcrete waiting area for an already constructed hospital in Janakpur, Nepal.
February 21, IHBA releases a new Hemp Building Best Practices Guide. This is the embodiment of 30 years experience and knowledge of the majority of the best Hempcrete artisans around the world.
The IHBA currently has over 200 members from 25 different countries all over the world.
There are hundreds of Hempcrete homes all over Europe. The U.S.A. has but a handful and have yet to set building standards for Hemp construction.
Recent Study in Central India
The caves aren’t natural caves, but man-made temples cut into a massive basalt hillside. They were built by generations of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain monks. They lived, worked, and worshipped in the caves, slowly carving out elaborate statues, pillars, and meditation rooms.
The Ajanta caves date from 200 B.C. to about 680 A.D. containing paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art and universal pictorial art.
The Ajanta caves have been excavated out of the basalt cliff by penetrating into the perpendicular rocky face. These are famous for the murals and paintings which have stood the test of time.
The Ajanta caves were discovered in 1819, by John Smith, who was a British officer of the 28th Cavalry for the Madras Presidency. This was a serendipitous discovery during a hunting expedition in the forests. The first cave discovered under the undergrowth was Cave 10 and subsequently the others.
The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.
They are 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta.
Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain rock cut temples and monasteries, that were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves, built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
The Ellora caves were never “lost” as they lie on an ancient trade route and have almost always remained in the public eye.
“The caves are breathtaking examples of rock-cut architecture that stands testimony to the imagination and artistry of its creators.” Singh and Sardesai wrote in the journal Current Science.
The many wonders throughout the Ellora caves:
- Cave 10 is named the "Carpenters Cave" for its ceilings that are carved out to resemble wooden beams.
- Cave 16 The Kailasa Temple
- Caves 11 and 12 are some of the only caves over two stories in India.
Although Ellora has more caves than Ajanta, the rooms generally are smaller and simpler with the exception of Kailasa Temple. The Kailasa or the Kailasanatha, is the unrivaled centerpiece of Ellora. This is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.
Kailasa Temple looks like a freestanding, multi-storied temple complex, but it was carved from the top down out of one single rock and covers an area double the size of the Parthenon in Athens. Initially the temple was covered with white plaster giving the appearance of snow covered Mount Kailash.
Enjoy this video to see the impossibility of carving out the Kailasa Temple. Keep in mind that the entire Ellora caves including Kailasa Temple, were carved out by people centuries ago with limited experience and tools.
The most fascinating aspect of the 34 Ellora caves, is the fact that none of the stone that was carved out of the hillside has ever been found in the area.
Ellora Cave No. 12
Cave 12 is known as Teen Taal. The upper floor is the most striking among the Buddhist caves in Ellora. It is divided into five aisles by rows of eight pillars; including the two in front of the shrine, making a total of 42.
While all of the Ellora caves were built using the same techniques, Teen Taal was the focus of the research conducted by M. Singh and M. M. Sardesai that I mentioned in the beginning of this article.
Having been engaged in the chemical treatment and conservation of ancient paintings at Ajanta for about 11 years, Singh said the outcome of the study was "a discovery in itself".
Specimens of Cannabis Sativa were isolated from a clay plaster sample taken from cave 12. They found pounded pieces of shoots, fragmented leaves, and a single flower in the sample.
Fresh specimens were collected from Jalna, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra and also from the roadside on the outskirts of Delhi city. The fresh specimens and those found in cave 12 showed no disparity.
The samples were examined using scanning electron microscope (SEM), light microscope, stereomicroscope and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) techniques confirming a mix of Cannabis Sativa in the clay plaster found throughout Ellora Caves.
No insect activity was found at Ellora due to 10% Cannabis Sativa found in a sample collected from Ellora cave 12.
*To clarify, all of Ellora was built in the same way, including the clay plaster that lines all of its walls and ceilings containing 10% Hemp. The proof of this was found in the sample from cave 12.
Little fluctuation of temperature was observed inside the cave and varied from 25.5 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius. The temperature outside the caves showed a large fluctuation and varied from 18 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius. This shows that the caves are thermally stable during all weather conditions.
Being an open air structure, relative humidity showed large fluctuations both inside and outside the cave. Relative humidity recorded inside the cave was found to vary from 27% to 45% while outside the caves it varied from 25% to 55%. This would dramatically drop in an enclosed structure.
Recent studies in Europe estimated 600 to 800 years of life span utilizing a Hempcrete wall system. This study irrefutably proves Hemp in the clay plaster of Ellora has survived more than 1,500 years!
The properties of the Hemp plaster, such as the ability to store heat, absorb about 90% of airborne sound, regulate humidity inside the cave, pest resistance, fire-retardancy, non-toxicity, high vapour permeability, and hygroscopic properties, were well known to the inhabitants of Ellora in the 6th century A.D. Thus they lined some of the most fantastic structures in history with Hemp!
The monks had created a healthy, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing living environment.
You can see Ellora Cave 12 at 5:41 of this video. As you watch, remember that these caves are covered in Hemp plaster.
Not only can we today provide a long list of the invaluable properties of Hemp construction, but even better we can say that humans have known these properties for over 1,500 years!!
Safer, lighter, less expensive, self sustainable, non-toxic, breathable, recyclable, carbon negative, beautiful, efficient, and all around better Industrial Hemp.
Hempcrete is but only one of many facets of the miracle Hemp plant. I've said it many times and will again; Industrial Hemp is the oldest and newest industry known to humankind.
There is a multitude of data on where Hempcrete is at today. I had begun adding it here, but it was so much that this article ran on and was going away from the history of it all. I have created a new permanent page to thcint.com covering everything Hempcrete and Hemp construction in the now. The page will cover everything from how to make Hempcrete, all of its benefits, best practices, and various technologies used today. Look for the page Hempcrete and Hemp Construction coming very soon!
Thank You for reading. I am always happy to see your comments and feedback. If I've missed something or you would like me to elaborate more on a section of this article; please let me know.
Dedicated to Samantha. You are the binder in MY Hempcrete. Daddy loves you!
Invest in Hemp and Save the Earth - Hernan