Prehistoric house and 3D reconstruction : towards a BIM archaeology

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The PhD thesis titled “Prehistoric House and 3D Reconstruction: Towards A BIM Archaeology”, illustrates the efforts to build and validate a high-dimensional visual model of the pile dwelling from the Early Neolithic site of La Draga (Girona, Spain), explicitly built to explain archaeological remains and to understand the logic of built spaces in a remote past. An innovative methodology based on BIM (Building Information Module) has been used to create the model and expand its explicative capability. The dissertation includes a description of the theoretical background of this research focusing on the genesis of Virtual Archaeology and its ramifications including purposes, problems and advantages of this new approach to Archaeology. The description take also into account Functional Analysis and Reverse Engineering exploring the relationship with Virtual Archaeology. Finally an overview of the “new entry” in Archaeology, the BIM is given. The relationship between Ethnography and Archaeology, the evolution of Ethnoarchaeology and how ethnographical and architectonical similarities, when the archaeological data is scarce or unclear, could be used to deduce or speculate the form and technique of the ancient pile dwelling are also described. A general vision about different kinds of Neolithic houses around the globe is also given, in order to display the great diversity of architectonics at these early times. The research also includes a description of those physic forces that affect a pile dwelling and the different kind of wooden degradation that could affect a pile dwelling. The core of the research is meant to describes the reconstruction methodology from “dissecting” the house, using an innovative ontology based on modern architectural definition of house parts, to the reconstruction of its elements. The relationships between the different elements and parts of the house have been examined in order to show how they work and how they interact with each others. The dissertation includes a description of how each reconstructive steps has been undertaken using all the data at our disposal. The creative process undertaken in order to create a functional BIM process that would fit not only with the site of La Draga but also with all the archaeological sites in general, it is also described. The thesis includes the description of how we have implemented the conceptual model of the prehistoric timber house into a Building Information Model (BIM) for expanding the explanatory model and generalize our initial findings. Finally, the development of the “Three little pigs theory”, is presented. This theory has been designed to demonstrate how buildings having similar shapes, dimension etc. may not only have very different meanings and functions but also different responses to the same physic forces, which is why comparisons based uniquely on “similarities in shapes” should be avoided.
Date of Award26 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRaquel Pique Huerta (Director) & Juan Antonio Barcelo Alvarez (Director)


  • 3D reconstruction
  • Prehistoric house

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