Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Amalia Leifeste

Committee Member

Elizabeth Ryan

Committee Member

Patricia Lowe Smith

Committee Member

Johanna Rivera-Diaz


This thesis reviews several methods of researching light sources and lighting schemes from the “long eighteenth century,”[1] on a historical site. Despite the period’s cultural reliance on lighting as well as technological advancement in this era, there has yet to be published documentation on how to engage with evidence of lighting technology on historic sites for better understanding of the site’s relationship with lighting.

Using Drayton Hall in Charleston, South Carolina as a case study, this thesis outlines and demonstrates the process of five methods of investigating period lighting technology. These methods are: wall investigation, anchorage points comparison and analysis, primary source analysis, collections analysis, and a multi-part window study. This thesis also examines the efficacy of each practice in terms of achieving understanding of period technology.

This thesis duly serves as a means of adding to the period understanding of lighting culture as well as adding to the national data set of information regarding lighting technology so that this research can be used to establish patterns in period technology and advancement on the international scale.

[1] Roughly defined as 1700-1820.



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