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Building Archaeology - draw - scan - photo ?
So what's it to be?

in buildings archaeology - what would you do? Does anyone carry out this disciple or even understand it?

For me it is photographic -> rectified -> pencil and paper!

I can't seem to get away from attention to detail, where unless you stare hard at a wall and draw it while standing in front of it, you can't understand the essence of a building.

Tonight I am teaching my class about buildings archaeology - and am also looking for inspiration.

I think that the first thing that you should tell tem is that rules of superposition are not easily applied. Then I would suggest that maybe it would be better to just call it building recording and keep the word archaeology out of it. Luckily for you the type of people who would go on such a course will understand what you mean by essence and will understand that the most essences can be gained by the longest standing and staring. Its up to you if you make them do it in total silence. Money for old rope.
Reason: your past is my past
Always walk round the building first inside, outside, upstairs downstairs. Look at the surrounding environment. What is the building what is its function, what story is it telling you from the materials used in the structures and the way the spaces have been used. Have an idea of these things first only then start recording. How you do it will depend on the size of the building and the level of record required.

For me its a mixture of photography and drawing and I always draw on site with pencil on perma trace (not every one can do this and you may want to use rectified photos in the office but always take some field measurements, more than you think you will need). Obviously with large complexes a total station may be needed and a basic frame work produced.
Use the digital camera as a aid memoir take snaps of everything ( I work round a building in a very set order once I start recording).
Stand and stare at the wall for some time before drawing let it talk to you. And always remember your interpretation may be one of the many possible from the evidence. I personally love building surveys

If possible field check your final drawings, above all have fun but dont forget all those health & safety issues, still have nightmares about the bird lice infestation yrrggghh xx(
Not done much building recording, but helped on a few jobs.

Seems to me, depending on the type of remains a lot of time and money can be saved through using technology. For instance laser scattering, EDMs and rectified photography.

But the key seems to be an understanding of architecture and construction techniques.......not to mention documentary evidence.

Did a collapsed Bastle up in Northumberland with a combination of sketches, a classic archaeological photographic record, EDM surveying, digital rectified photography (for elevations and plans of rubble - digitised in post-ex), and aerial photographs.
Is it archaeology or 'history of architecture', if it hasn't fallen down and got grass growing on it yet? :face-stir:

(although I'm occasionally prepared to make an exception if the bottom of it's attached to something I'm digging)
Make no mistake, understanding how a building has developed over time is archaeology. Architectural history has its place and is needed but it is the discipline of recording and interpreting the evidence that is at the core of buildings archaeology. Looking at the evidence and telling the story is what we do. I would recomend actually looking at books on the construction of buildings, how they are put together and why things are done in a certain way. I have books on modern building survey for quantity surveyors etc as well as books on the history of architecture. The architectural stuff tends to miss out the bit on how it was actually done.

There is nothing like learning from an old lag (or having a builder in the family)

The thing I like about buildings is they really make you think.
Are those medieval roof timbers a reuse of material from else where?
Is the base of the wall a much later replacement for a wooden sill?
Has the exterior been re faced in a much more modern style masking an earlier building?

It is all stratigraphy but in three dimensions with no assurances of what order things happend in (the roof can be the oldest part of a building or the youngest)
A building is a building above or below grounds. As they understood in Chester back in the day why wait for it to fall down before it becomes " archaeology".
You gonna trust an architectural historian to dig the below-ground bits? :0

Personally I would not trust an architectural historian to interpret the above ground bits they get hung up on style and miss the obvious and many have no idea how to do a measured survey (Apologies to any architectural historians reading this). Buildings Archaeology is a valid discipline that uses elements of other disciplines. Understanding the order in which things happend is not reliant on the architectrural style which can some times (surprisingly often) be a red herring.
Personally I'd avoid a prescriptive approach to building analysis, to bring another term into it. It all depends on the scale and scope of the exercise and why you're doing it. You can of course mix and match approaches - I've combined photogrammetry, rectified photography and hand survey on a project, with the results all being digitised consistently in CAD. It all depends which method can capture the data most cost-effectively. Standing and staring at walls and talking about them, even to yourself, is also essential.

As for who should do it, I've discussed this many times with architectural historians, and have come to the conclusion that both approaches have drawbacks and merits. The two disciplines look at buildings in different ways, and those differences can be interesting, entertaining and sometimes informative. On one big project on a freshly-burned castle I tried to hire archaeologists and architectural historians - it certainly wasn't dull. And to reinforce Dinosaur's point, no, I wouldn't dream of letting an architectural historian get hold of a trowel.

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