Category Archives: PhD

Research Abstract

The main focus of this thesis is to establish the usefulness of a timber joint typology, produced by dendrochronology between AD1250 and 1530, in the dating of previously undated buildings, along with the recalibration of Cecil Hewett’s published typologies (Hewett 1980). This contention is addressed, in Hampshire, through the physical surveying of 95 properties, and through the recalibration of Hewett by surveying 9 of his case studies, from outside the county, to act as a control set. A primary aim is to explore the wider material culture surrounding the late-medieval carpenter, to address Richard Harris’s suggestion that timber-framing was a result of “cultural activities” and, therefore, “no building form or method of construction was ever determined by timber, stone, rainfall or sunshine” (Harris 1989, 1). When this is taken into consideration, it is clear to see that an understanding of the “cultural activities” that occurred between 1250 and 1530, needs to be investigated in order to understand the structures designed and built within that culture, for that culture. As the collation of published works regarding the “crisis” of the 14th century will show, the attitudes toward death of the survivors of famines, wars and the Black Death (1348-50) changed. Chapter 6 will give evidence for how the shifting cultural values shifted in the wake of the pandemic through its depiction in art, burial, church architecture and social-economic upheaval. Though the study of such is well represented in the literature, especially with regard to the Black Death, it is how carpentry was affected by these “cultural activities” within Hampshire that is ground breaking.

Because the research included the photographic survey of joints using a digital camera, and locations recorded via a Global Positioning System (GPS), a computer based methodology was applied. This also permitted the creation of a geo-database that also included original graphical information, regarding the various joint types, through the medium of three dimensional (3D) modelling. The result of which is both novel and cutting edge within the field of buildings archaeology and dendro-archaeology and inextricably linked with the expansion of this dataset in the future. This will be facilitated by enabling researchers in other areas to access, query and ultimately update the information contained within. Therefore ensuring longevity and promoting the significance of this pilot, regional study. This also means that now it is possible to emulate this research by accessing the database, rather than the structures themselves. This may not be an issue for those researchers living within the area, but for peers researching from another country, the placing of the information online is invaluable. Attention is therefore drawn throughout to the power of Information Communications Technologies (ICT), to illustrate how the ensuing data were managed and recorded.

The thesis, representing an unprecedented, systematic study of a near comprehensive corpus of scientifically dated structures in Hampshire between 1250 and 1530, is supported by references to printed primary sources and accompanied by an associated website The site was created to both support and disseminate the findings of this new research into joint typologies; together with engaging the wider community in interacting with a visual database, resulting from the unique photographic surveys. While the previous works of Cecil Hewett and Edward Roberts have greatly informed and inspired this research, the systematic recording of timber joints in Hampshire is unique to this project, and although regional in its scope, the novel methodology designed to record and collate the masses of data means the work can be expanded to incorporate other regional studies and ultimately inform a general examination of English Late-medieval carpentry in greater detail in the future.

The future of photography is here!

I have been interested in photography and its development for sometime but I have been utterly blown away by Microsoft’s new release!


its is truly amazing and needs to be seen to be believed so go and check it out

It enables you to create a 3D world from a collection of photos. My humble words can not do this project justice, please visit the site and enjoy the future now!

It has the potential to revolustionise digital archaeology and virtual archaeology

Here is a synth I created

A Photosynth “how to” from

Because Photosynth uses photos differently than other photographic processes, it means you’re going to have to shoot your scene or object in a way you may not be used to. Among the things we did lots of times before learning not to:

– Not taking enough pictures. Photosynth requires lots of images. With memory card prices going down and sizes going up, go crazy and take more than you think you’ll need. You really want to cover your subject thoroughly. But don’t just shoot random pictures—think about how they’re going to tie together, and how you’ll be navigating through your synth. Be methodical about how you shoot.

– Taking pictures that don’t knit together. We repeat this lot, but that’s because it’s so important: each of your pictures should have at least 50% overlap from the previous picture. When you take pictures at drastically different angles Photosynth can’t match them up and you end up with ‘orphans’, pictures that don’t connect to any others. So even though you’ve taken lots of pictures (because you read the paragraph just above this one), that doesn’t mean you should use them all –leave out the ones that won’t connect to the others.

– Poor choice of subject. Things with extremely complex or repeating patterns don’t usually work very well (like a willow tree, for example). Things that are really colorful make great pictures, but not great synths, because Photosynth doesn’t look at color, it looks at texture. Look at the ‘Nice and Synthy’ section of the site, and see what worked. Look at the 2-D view of the pictures and see how they fit together, how many pictures were used, and the angle at which they were taken.

So, let’s get synthing!

Synthing tips: How to synth a room

Maybe you want to show off your newly-remodeled downstairs. Or you want to let your friends see how you’ve decorated your room. Or you want to remember the amazing luxury condo you went through. Photosynth can help. Here are some tips so you’ll get the best synth of an interior space:

1. Start by standing in the center of the room and shooting a panorama—turn slightly and take pictures 360-degrees all around you. Make sure you have lots of overlap between pictures—50% works really well. Make sure you use a tripod and that your camera stays level throughout the panorama—otherwise it won’t synth very well. Start with your camera zoomed out as far as you can for the widest possible shots—then do it again with the camera zoomed in progressively closer , so for each position you’ve got a wide shot, medium shot and close-up.

Shoot a panorama from the center of the room

Shoot a panorama from the center of the room

2. Next, stand in each of the room’s corners and shoot the rest of the room, again with lots of overlap between shots, first wide, then closer. Then stand in the center of each wall and do the same thing.

Shoot from the corners of the room

Shoot from the corners, then from the center of each wall

3. Don’t forget the ‘rule of 3’: each part of your scene should appear in at least three different photos.

My research

clipped from

Richard is presently actively involved in surveying timber-framed properties in Hampshire between AD1130 and 1530. He has found many interesting joints and he is in the process of writing his thesis and modelling the joints. As a result this website is constantly evolving and updated. Not all the data can be published here until after the thesis is submitted, be he is more than happy to talk with any interested parties regarding his work. Please feel free to email Richard with questions and suggestions or please visit

blog it



Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. An extension to the popular open-source web browser Firefox, Zotero includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote)—the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references—and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and, such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero integrates tightly with online resources; it can sense when users are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, and—on many major research and library sites—find and automatically save the full reference information for the item in the correct fields. Since it lives in the web browser, it can effortlessly transmit information to, and receive information from, other web services and applications; since it runs on one’s personal computer, it can also communicate with software running there (such as Microsoft Word). And it can be used offline as well (e.g., on a plane, in an archive without WiFi).

Graduate Junction

Graduate junction is a great new place for graduates to promote and share their research with other graduates. They say;

The Graduate Junction is a brand new site which aims to give research students an easy way of making contact with others who share their research interests no matter which department, institution or country they work in.

The site has been created by other research students, like you, who believe the site can grow into a really useful tool for postgraduates working in any field of research

my profile

Black Death

For an interesting, if not controversial take on the ‘Black Death’ and the early 14th Century in general, may I recommend;

Baillie M, 2006 New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection. Tempus, Gloucestershire. (Amazon)

Baillie is perhaps best known for his work within the field of dendrochronology, and so it is interesting to read how he sees the catastrophes incurred during the 1st half of the 14th Century played out in the tree-ring evidence. I believe Baillie puts forward a very strong case for us to re look at what we know about the Black Death in the light of new scientific evidence.

1493 Wooden fireplace

I was lucky enough to visit a house in Mottisfont the other day that had a tudor fireplace dendro dated to 1493 (late 15th century). It is the earliest wooden fireplace with carving I know of in Hampshire, do correct me if I’m wrong. I have seen plenty of stone ones around this period, but not wooden.
1493 wooden fireplace
It also has some ‘teardrops’ left from burning rush lights and a daisy wheel inscription to ward off witches and evil.