Accessibility statement

Analysing Historic Buildings


Module leader: Dav Smith


This module is designed introduces you to the basics of analysing buildings. We will consider the development of buildings archaeology and the current frameworks within which buildings archaeologists operate, particularly in conservation and heritage. We then go on to address the key approaches and methodologies in buildings archaeology; looking at archival research into buildings history, identifying key sources of secondary and praimry sources that underpin both academic and practice-based research. We will familiarise ourselves with current professional guidance on standards and reports, including desk based assessments, historic buildings reports and heritage statements. The module will then go on to introduce you to the basics of analysing buildings, building your understanding of how materials, structures and architectural history can be used to visually analyse a series of case studies through lectures and on site practicals. Many of these issues will come together in our on-site sessions, culminating in a full-day fieldtrip at Astley Hall, where module tutor Geoff Maybank (Maybank Buildings Conservation) will guide us through the past few years of reearch and survey of this complex and rather splendid building. Throughout the module, you'll build up a good working knowledge of approaches to historic buildings and practice skills of visual analysis, desk based assessment, archive research and group work. Assessment will also build your confidence with report-style professional writing. 


  • To understand buildings archaeology within the context of heritage and conservation practice
  • To introduce students to the specialised skills required for the archaeological analysis and recording of historic buildings
  • To introduce students to the assessment of significance and the visual analysis of historic buildings

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand the role of buildings archaeology within the context of heritage and conservation practice
  • Carry out a basic desk-based assessment of an historic building in the UK
  • Analyse and phase the archaeological sequence of an historic building
  • Locate and apply dating evidence from relevant historical and documentary sources to the analysis of historic buildings

Analysing Buildings Image 2015