Composite Vernacular Constructions


Miles Lewis

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


ABSTRACT  Vernacular building is the building or ordinary people, constrained by the practicalities of environmental conditions and physical materials, and influenced by traditional culture, but not mediated by professional architects and engineers.  Combinations of earth and timber, such as wattle and daub, are found in the vernacular in almost every part of the world, but are a source of great confusion to archaeologists and scholars.  Archaeologists are misled by the remains, in which the earth may have survived but the timber usually does not. Techniques such as lehmwickel are never recognised in archaeological work.  There is no common system of naming or classification, and English speakers regularly describe any combination of earth and timber in walling as ‘wattle and daub’.  Many of these techniques have been changed by the impact of modern technology, notably pole and pug construction (which is often confused with wattle and daub, though it is quite different in principle); this is essentially a nineteenth century development because it relies upon plentiful and cheap nails.  The purpose of this paper is to establish a common terminology in English, and where possible in other relevant languages, so that misinterpretations are avoided and scholarship can proceed on an orderly basis.

KEYWORDS  mixed construction, wattle and daub, lath and pug, lehmwickel, pole and pug, nails

Received October 4, 2019; accepted December 23, 2019.