Buildings Research (Buildings Archaeology)
This is a branch of archaeology which has developed from architectural history, and involves studying a building as a “physical document” in its own right. From the 15th century onwards, architects have studied earlier buildings and recorded them in a way we would now describe as archaeological, and this enables understanding of the structural techniques used. Until the mid-19th century, most buildings studied in this way were high status (great houses), defensive (castles etc), or religious (churches and cathedrals), but over the last 150 years domestic or vernacular buildings in towns and countryside have also been studied.
Buildings archaeology studies the fabric, form and function of buildings and their parts – many buildings have been altered and added to over time. Detailed measured surveys and drawn and/or photographic recording is carried out to give ground plans, elevations (looking at the sides of the building) and cross-sections. The different parts of the building are then studied and an overall interpretation is produced giving a reason for the original construction and an account of the development over time. Dendrochronology results and documentary evidence can be used to aid the interpretation, but the physical building is the main source of this.
So far in the project we have had seven buildings surveyed by experts and reports have been produced. More buildings will be analysed in this way.
A: one-room plan
B: two-room plan
C: lobby entrance plan
D: cross-passage plan
E: T-shaped plan
F: end lobby entrance plan, with two inner rooms
Building research at Impney Farm