Wattle & Daub: Craft, Conservation & Wiltshire Case Study
3.6 Daub
4.1 Soils
4.1.3 Strength
4.2 Dung
4.2.2 Lignin
4.2.3 Urine
4.3 Fibre
5.4.2 Renewal

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5 Conservation

The archaeology of timber-framing has been extensively studied by architectural historians as antiquities important to the English landscape and our social history. However, with the evolution of conservation ethics throughout the twentieth century, we have now arrived at a situation where the great knowledge of timber-framing is disproportionately great against the scant knowledge of the wattle and daub panels that wee used to transform every frame into walling.[74] The relatively recent development and recognition of the buildings archaeologist has partly addressed this imbalance, yet our understanding of wattle and daub is mediocre in comparison. This is disappointing since it has been claimed that, ‘wattle and daub often contains more archaeological evidence than the timber frame’.[75] For example, Rackham (1994) has found that withies are often, ‘excellently preserved, down to the very lichens which grew on the rods when they were alive’. Additionally, the blackened surface of daub may provide evidence of an open hearth, the location of a smoke-bay or the remnants of a smoke hood.

[74] The claim that knowledge is ‘scant’ is supported by the oft-conflicting accounts presented by the authors in the attached bibliography.
[75] Bouwens (1997).