Approaches to the conservation of the fragmented image of Scottish Iron-Age brochs

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Abstract

The drystone broch towers of the Scottish Iron Age have intrigued many generations of archaeologists who attempted to reproduce their impressive scale alongside excavation campaigns of variable scientific merits. A review of the most seminal conservation projects since mid 19th century shows here the spectrum of approaches followed and explores how far they are in parallel with similar trends in the rest of Europe, sketching a theoretical framework. The agents of the projects have been only archaeologists, but scientific excavation and documentation has been informing conservation only since the 1950s leaving behind the earlier antiquarian approaches that aimed to architecturally recognisable space at the expense of stratigraphy. The change in funding in the recent years and the gear towards community engagement also constitute major changes who may promote more systematic and ambitious restoration projects as in Clachtoll. This review also makes an argument for the establishment of critical design intervention principles in the broad scale (restoration of wholeness while presenting the emerging rich stratigraphy) in the hope to encourage architects enter the debate, develop richer design approaches and encourage their earlier involvement during the archaeological excavation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalMateriali e strutture
Volume2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • brochs
  • conservation
  • Fragmentation
  • Iron Age

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