BSc Environmental Geography, University of Stirling (2010)
Start Date: 1st June 2013
3B156 Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA
Tel: +44 (0)1786 467787
fax: +(44) 1786 467843
Heritage Management of Earth Built Structures
Earth has been used as building material for centuries and is still found in many forms globally. Historic vernacular buildings are an important part of national heritage and in light of predicted climate change findings science-led approaches to their conservation is increasingly important for policy development and conservation practice. In order to develop such approaches it is necessary to understand the different building techniques that have been employed in the past, the different topography
and geology of the areas under study, and the threats posed by present and future climate conditions. The heritage value of a building, earth-built or otherwise, is dependent upon many factors including its setting within a wider urban or natural landscape and the cultural associations related to both the building and its location, with the importance of this setting or ‘place’ increasingly emphasised in policy.
The resources that were available to the local communities and builders at the time of the construction of vernacular buildings, as well as local traditions, folklore and knowledge, undoubtedly influenced the type of building techniques that were employed in the past (ICOMOS, 1999).
My project’s primary focus has been on the management and repair of earth built structures in the Cane River National Heritage Area, Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA. Constructions dating from late 18th Century and early 19th Century are still in use as family homes in this area. The Cane River National Heritage Area also has properties which are managed by the National Park Service and independent charities, there is a rich diversity of properties consisting of plantation houses, slave quarters and associated plantation buildings. Through the use of science-led approaches this project aims to inform conservation practitioners and policy makers about the effectiveness of repairs and the continuing maintenance of this important historical resource for generations to come.