Archaeological Site Formation

When turf rooves collapse.......they do so inside the building and before the walls. This explains why a typical sequence might have collapse from the walls sealing more indistinct collapse (roof)- and all kinds of humic / woody stuff beneath that (roof structure).

"When turf rooves collapse.......they do so inside the building and before the walls. This explains why a typical sequence might have collapse from the walls sealing more indistinct collapse (roof)- and all kinds of humic / woody stuff beneath that (roof structure)."

Many (okay, most!) of the archaeologist-photographers that I know like to take photos of buildings in various states of disrepair.  I think it’s probably a requirement of the profession, right?  Anyway, Dave (whom I met this weekend in Copenhagen) uses this love of decay as an opportunity to talk about archaeological site formation.  How completely logical and brilliant at the same time!  Anyway, I encourage you to check out his new group on Flickr, Archaeology: Site formation or when buildings fall down, and perhaps spend a bit of time describing your artfully framed photos.

In the meantime, don’t forget about Archaeology in Action, the Flickr group dedicated to showcasing archaeological fieldwork from around the world.

Early morning, ice in the pit... Skålbunes, Nordland

Early morning, ice in the pit... Skålbunes, Nordland

About these ads

3 responses to “Archaeological Site Formation

  1. Nice post, very important thinking.
    What is also interesting is why roofs collapse in the first place.
    The mass of the roof will tend to push the walls outwards, (‘Thrust’). In many cases, outward movement in part of the supporting walls initiates the collapse, and evidence of this can be seen in some of the photos, ( & above – on the right?).

  2. ya, dave is doing some great stuff. that’s a really good use of photography for archaeological purposes. i agree with you–definitely logical AND brilliant. when it comes to site formation, i think it makes perfect sense to pay close attention to the decay that is happening all around us on a daily basis.

  3. In contrast with turf rooves, wattle & daub wall sections exposed to fire seem (anecdotally) to fall uniformly outwards away from a structure. This struck me before and has just been underlined in the work of a masters student I’m supervising. My suspicion is that it’s to do with the dehydration and loss of weight focused on the interior faces, causing them to topple towards the heavier face as the wattle framework is compromised.

    This at least is true of internal compartment fires – it would be really interesting to compare this observation with exterior burning against similar walls…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s