Flat Out 3D Analysis

It was another glorious day of sunshine in Berkeley on Wednesday, the diggers were getting tanned (read burnt) but still ploughed on with their trowels. The American Fulbright scholars had their last day with us and were shocked that England manages to gleam the occasional touch of sunlight. They may have only been with us for three days as part of their month long visit to learn about the involvement of Bristol in the transatlantic slave trade but they seem to have thoroughly immersed themselves. We hope they have enjoyed their first taste of the sweet nectar that is Archaeology and wish them the very best in the rest of their stay in England.
The Fulbright scholars enjoying the sun

                Also leaving us on Wednesday was Paul Blinkhorn, our pottery specialist. It was both useful and exciting to be in the presence of such an expert and we thank him very much for his time on site with us. His enthusiasm and knowledge caught the attention of one of the Fulbright scholars who went on to say that if he “could be reincarnated as any artefact, it would be a sherd of pottery because of the amount of possibilities it would mean” for him (and because he knew that if he had any questions about himself he could go to Paul Blinkhorn for answers)!
                The social media team had a chat today with Alex Birkett who has undertaken a one man project to put together a 3D reconstruction of the house we are excavating. This project requires a rare combination of unbelievable patience and technological mastery. He has been using SketchUp Pro software (often used by architectural firms) to give two pictures: one of what the house that we are excavating looks like in its current state in 3D, and another of a full reconstruction of the house.
Alex Birkett's reconstruction viewed from the North-East

the reconstruction viewed from the north

                As if understanding the complicated software isn’t hard enough, the job is made all the harder by the fact that our interpretations are constantly changing. When talking with Alex it becomes clear that it’s not so much the exact date of the house that changes the picture, due to the fact that the architecture of that period was not very varied. Instead, it is more about looking at the walls that remain and trying to figure out which ones are contemporary and which were built later. This information combined with the finds data can help build a timeline phasing the construction of different rooms, which in turn shows how the house was constructed, extended and then demolished. This means that Alex is constantly having to redraw the house as new structural elements and finds are uncovered. Just yesterday there was a piece of “Saxo-Norman” pot discovered, which has further complicated the phasing of the house. The likely conclusion to be drawn is that the house that Alex has spent so long reconstructing was extended to form a larger building during the Tudor period. 
aerial view of a digital model of the north west corner of trench 8

Alex hard at work
 Work on this area is now winding down for this year and the remaining recording and planning is now underway. We will pick it up again in next year’s excavations. No doubt it will all be change again! *ding-ding*