The survey and analysis of brochs
Iron Age, broch
Developments in surveying technology over the past decade have facilitated new approaches to the survey and presentation of complex upstanding archaeological sites. Recent surveys carried out on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland, allied to ongoing research into the architecture and engineering of brochs – or complex Atlantic roundhouses – across Scotland, have prompted a reassessment of approaches to the recording and interpretation of brochs as structures and a reconsideration of the information required to record their character. This paper highlights the importance of archaeological measured survey and explores the influence of zeitgeistic preconceptions, not only on the survey itself but on its interpretation. Pre-survey analysis, selection of evidence to be surveyed and post-survey analyses are intimately interlinked. While modern survey techniques address some of these issues, improvements in recording must be matched by improved interpretational models to maximise their benefits to broch studies.
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