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T W E N T Y T H I R D E D I T I O N

T H E B U I L D I N G C O N S E R VAT I O N D I R E C T O R Y 2 0 1 6

9

1

PROFESS IONAL SERV I CES

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL

INVESTIGATION AND

DIGITAL DOCUMENTATION

OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS

TOM ADDYMAN

T

HE PLANNING

process now routinely

imposes archaeological conditions on

work to historic structures, including

recording, investigation, analysis and

monitoring during works. Major custodians

of historic buildings and sites, particularly

the national statutory bodies responsible for

monuments in care, now regard proper survey,

recording and analysis as a necessary aspect of

responsible management and an integral part

of informed conservation.

Archaeologists have long been involved

in the analysis and recording of architecture.

In recent decades, and in the past decade

in particular, the field has developed

dramatically due to a digital survey revolution.

Today, those involved in curating and

repairing historic buildings and sites and

those responsible for the commissioning of

survey work are presented with a broad array

of techniques and options which support the

recording process.

Increasingly it is the archaeologist’s role

to manage the process of digital survey, to

oversee survey specifications and to ensure

that data capture and modelling are properly

planned and implemented. This role requires

archaeologists to precisely identify the desired

outputs, determine resolutions and carefully

consider the final desired result in relation to

the client’s needs.

In the process of commissioning survey

work it is often the buildings archaeologist’s

own requirements within the existing

guidance that are the most stringent. Beyond

obtaining the dimensionally correct data

that is needed to generate the 2D and 3D line

imagery desired by the architectural practice,

the archaeological record will commonly

require exhaustive detail of a site. This takes

the form of high resolution imagery that

allows the complexities, structural nuances,

minor alignments, textures and colours of the

subject structure to be examined in detail and

then retained as a permanent primary archive.

3D DATA AND THE ROLE OF THE

SURVEYOR

For decades the surveyor captured 3D data

but supplied 2D information in the form

of topographic survey drawings, building

plans, elevations and sections. In most

Figure 1 The site of Edinburgh University’s Old College in pre-Reformation times (c1530): the modelling is based

on excavations, early drawings and map evidence (Both images: Luma3D Interactive/Addyman Archaeology/

University of Edinburgh)

Figure 2 The same perspective of the site showing the Old College as it had developed by the later 18th century:

note that in this case the evidence of historic drawn views has been applied directly to the model surface

cases the third dimension was represented

by annotations or contour lines. The

relationship between the surveyor and the

client was, in the main, well understood.

The client defined the end-product and the

surveyor used the appropriate technology

and methodology to satisfy client needs

cost-effectively within the remit.

Now, however, with the increasing

demand for high resolution imagery, virtual

or augmented reality, the development

of 3D city models and, perhaps most

importantly, the mandating of Building

Information Modelling (BIM) by the

UK government, 3D data is becoming an

essential deliverable within the process.