Pluvia Ex Machina: Testing rainfall variability on adobe structures

Author(s): Sharlot Hart

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "The Vanishing Treasures Program: Celebrating 20 Years of National Park Service Historic Preservation" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In recent years, National Park Service and Vanishing Treasures cultural resource managers have noted archeological site damage caused by seasonal rain events. Standing earthen architecture, like adobe, appears to be most vulnerable to weather-related damage, particularly extreme rainfall events. Efforts to efficiently document and assess storm damage, however, currently rely on anecdotal and qualitative descriptions of material loss. These accounts suggest that changing rainfall patterns cause damage to fragile earthen architecture at increasing levels; however, no previous study has been conducted to clarify this cause-and-effect relationship. This study sought to fill that gap, as well as test the potential of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) as an accurate and precise method for quantitative measurement of material loss. In heritage preservation TLS is commonly used to document, map, visualize, and measure cultural resources. While TLS is also employed in Building Information Modeling, manufacturing and parts inspection, and industrial deformation studies, the equipment is expensive and the knowledge to interpret results is limited to specialists. In addition to forecasting the effects of rainfall damage on earthen architecture, this project helped document a financially feasible workflow for accurately assessing physical impacts to adobe cultural resources.

Cite this Record

Pluvia Ex Machina: Testing rainfall variability on adobe structures. Sharlot Hart. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451177)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22878