View of the point cloud from 3D lasercanning of the early medieval buildings (re)constructed at Gyrwe’s farm.
Laser scanning survey: Gianluca Foschi & Marco Romeo Pitone, 2020-2021.

Our reconstructed buildings are not exact replicas of the ones found archaeologically; we must fill in the gaps. The archaeological record often only shows some aspects of the shape, appearance, and use of the buildings, so there is information missing. But we have to be careful when filling in these gaps, as our bias is inevitably involved.

When building reconstructions, we start thinking about the building as a whole, considering the materials that were used and how they fitted into the everyday lives of people. Those who physically build the structures are faced with challenges like resources, timing and labour that can’t be understood from the archaeological record. Modern reconstructions also must prioritise the soundness of the building, ensuring the public’s safety!

Once the buildings are (re)constructed their use and durability can be tested, and scientific analysis of the structure itself and its sensory properties can be conducted. However, there are limits to our reconstructions. The necessary choices are made by one person or group of people, meaning alternative ideas might get overshadowed. If this is critically considered, however, then reconstructions are an amazing way of de-mystifying archaeology to get a better understanding of how elite and non-elite people lived in the past.

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