Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Carter L. Hudgins

Committee Member

Katherine Saunders Pemberton

Committee Member

Elizabeth G. Ryan


Understanding the phases of a building’s evolution constitutes a critical step towards its preservation. The practice of building archaeology has emerged as a tool for investigating and interpreting the layers of a historic structure. Currently, a documentation guideline to assist in interpretive recording and representation of these phases and layers of a building’s history does not exist. Does the existing documentation guideline outlined by Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) adequately serve the demands of an interpretive recording? Through a critical analysis of precedent architectural and archaeological recording guidelines, this thesis creates a hybrid documentation process that combines features of architectural recording with the systems of archaeological recording. The hybrid guideline outlines a three-step strategy to develop a systematic, meticulous and interpretive record of the layers and architectural features revealed during a building archaeology investigation. A trial of the proposed building archaeology guideline was undertaken in the outbuilding at the Nathaniel Russell House to critically evaluate its efficiency. The challenge of representing all the layers in a single graphic platform was addressed by delineating alternative formats that depict the findings. The results from this trial indicate that the proposed guideline provides a starting point for developing a standardized approach to record a building archaeology investigation.



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