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Simon Parkin

Thesis: Turf Wars: the battle to conserve earth-built structures during rapid climate changes

Supervisors: Dr Paul Adderley and Dr Craig Kennedy

My interdisciplinary PhD research seeks to marry historical appraisals of Scotland’s lost and hidden stock of vernacular earth buildings with novel scientific approaches to understanding climate-related processes of decay in the walling fabrics of surviving examples. The outcomes of this will contribute to redressing hitherto unbalanced historical perspectives of highly significant, though now all but lost, aspects of Scottish cultural heritage and building tradition, whilst simultaneously addressing requirements of the professional heritage community to mitigate against the potentially deleterious effects of future climate change on vulnerable earthen structures. My research is extremely varied, ranging from archival work to experimentation with earthen bricks using the University of Stirling’s controlled environment facility. I conduct field sampling with an investigative programme based around a range of complimentary analytical techniques including X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, microwave moisture meter analysis, optical micromorphological assessment and three-dimensional X-ray computed tomography.


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