DOCUMENTING FOR POSTERITY: ADVOCATING THE USE OF ADVANCED RECORDING TECHNIQUES FOR DOCUMENTATION IN THE FIELD OF BUILDING ARCHAEOLOGY
Keywords: Rapid documentation, building archaeology, automated photogrammetry, total station, orthoimage, Computer-Aided Drafting, education
Abstract. Since the new millennium, living in historic cities has become extremely popular in the Netherlands. As a consequence, historic environments are being adapted to meet modern living standards. Houses are constantly subjected to development, restoration and renovation. Although most projects are carried out with great care and strive to preserve and respect as much historic material as possible, nevertheless a significant amount of historical fabric disappears. This puts enormous pressure on building archaeologists that struggle to rapidly and accurately capture in situ authentic material and historical evidence in the midst of construction works. In Leiden, a medieval city that flourished during the seventeenth century and that today counts over 3,000 listed monuments, a solution to the problem has been found with the implementation of advanced recording techniques. Since 2014, building archaeologists of the city council have experienced first-hand that new recording techniques, such as laser scanning and photogrammetry, have dramatically decreased time spent on site with documentation. Time they now use to uncover, analyse and interpret the recovered historical data. Nevertheless, within building archaeology education, a strong case is made for hand drawing as a method for understanding a building, emphasising the importance of close observation and physical contact with the subject. In this paper, the use of advanced recording techniques in building archaeology is being advocated, confronting traditional educational theory with practise, and research tradition with the rapid rise of new recording technologies.