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Why do we have history and archaeology?

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Why were then Roman granaries buttressed?

Take your pick. The archaeologist view that a stone wall 2ft thick needed reinforcement because of the pressure of having grain sacks leaning against it, or the builder's and farmer's view that the wall was thick enough already, but that the buttresses supported an overhanging roof to keep walls free from damp, and food dry and cool. One line of thought has academic backing, the other common sense logic from people used to building and storing food.

 

To be fair, some academics support the overhanging roof theory - but most popular and scholarly works overwhelmingly seem to go with the 'supported wall' theory. Turf and timber forts incidentally, had granaries which were supported on piles to keep them free from the ground, and there is no evidence for or against overhanging roofs. However, there is definitely no evidence at all for external wall supports.

 

I mention this minor point in order to illustrate some of the differences between History and Archaeology. Whilst Historical research can be entirely based on academia, I feel that Archaeology should draw on the resources of practical people, rather than solely on academics who may not have enough insight into building, food storage, water conveyance etc to make a valid evaluation of a site.

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Butresses, it is my belief, are only used to distribute the weight from a heavy roof which would push too thin and too high walls outwards otherwise. I have never heard about butresses being used to compensate for the pressure of goods being stored inside the building, nor to support an overhanging roof (??). That doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

Admittedly, I'm not a builder.

 

The practise to build a second storey slightly overhanging the first one, which used to be rather popular at certain times and in certain areas, I understand, did have the purpose to compensate for the weight of goods or furniture inside : if the second storey wall is right on top of the first storey one, the weight of heavy furniture and the heavy floorboards would give a building the tendency to fold inward. Having a slightly overhanging second storey would balance these things out.

 

Formosus

Edited by Formosus Viriustus

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I mention this minor point in order to illustrate some of the differences between History and Archaeology. Whilst Historical research can be entirely based on academia, I feel that Archaeology should draw on the resources of practical people, rather than solely on academics who may not have enough insight into building, food storage, water conveyance etc to make a valid evaluation of a site.

To be fair that would not be a difference between History and Archaeology, or any other research discipline for that matter.

Irrespectively of how we may define "academia" here, all research must be based on empyrical (practical) evidence and elementary logic (the uncommon common sense).

Otherwise we would get invalid evaluations even in History, for example the famous mirror weapon of Archimedes.

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I mention this minor point in order to illustrate some of the differences between History and Archaeology. Whilst Historical research can be entirely based on academia, I feel that Archaeology should draw on the resources of practical people, rather than solely on academics who may not have enough insight into building, food storage, water conveyance etc to make a valid evaluation of a site.

To be fair that would not be a difference between History and Archaeology, or any other research discipline for that matter.

Irrespectively of how we may define "academia" here, all research must be based on empyrical (practical) evidence and elementary logic (the uncommon common sense).

Otherwise we would get invalid evaluations even in History, for example the famous mirror weapon of Archimedes.

 

Agreed on that point.

 

Personally, I'm against any unification of the disciplines. Archeology should be a purely practical, scientific pursuit. Archaeologists shouldn't be biased in what they are looking for by their dual career or interest as a Historian. They shouldn't go out into a dig site with an eye to the confirmation of their already existing theory. A bias like that only gets us even further away from the accurate, positivist understanding of History.

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