Natural stone, as an immediate and accessible material, used in objects and constructions, has accompanied man since the prehistoric period and, in its perpetuity, has been recording the trajectory of civilizations. Initially used in its raw form, it was, over time, dominated and transformed into a delicate and profuse ornament.

Stonework is the technique of cutting and preparing rocks for construction, with decorative and structural effects. It is one of the oldest construction techniques. Great works such as cathedrals, bridges and castles were built using this technique – A work in stonework can either use mortar or dry stone. What differentiates stonework from other more rudimentary stone construction techniques is exactly the accuracy with which the blocks are cut. The angles can either be 90 degrees (in a square) or with other predefined values, always aiming for the best fit.

As a decorative element, the rocks are detailed and carefully carved, before being integrated into the construction. They are true sculptures that have no existence independent of the construction in which they are integrated.

The extraction and transformation of stone in Santa Bárbara de Nexe is a secular activity. In the 17th century, the stone from this place was already used in the construction and remodeling of remarkable buildings in Faro.

The increase in civil construction, from the 20s of the 20th century, intensified this activity, promoting the economic, social and cultural growth of Bordeira. The activity of the Bordeira construction sites took place in the various quarries in Santa Bárbara, as well as in other parts of the country. The crisis that devastated the country in the 20th century promoted emigration to other countries, in search of better living conditions. The destinations were: Argentina, Brazil, Morocco, Algeria, France and Switzerland. After the 25th of April 1974, many returned, resuming the traditional activity of stonework. Some of these stonemasons have distinguished themselves for their mastery and art, at home and abroad, with works done in churches, public buildings, cemeteries and monuments – the names that come across for their magnificent work are Dionísio Aniceto, João Madeira and Tomás Ramos.

The transformation of stone into industrial molds led to the weakening of this traditional activity.