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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Publication details

Jaquin, P.A., Augarde, C.E. & Gerrard, C.M. (2007). Historic rammed earth structures in Spain: construction techniques and a preliminary classification. Proceedings of International Symposium on Earthen Structures 2007, Bangalore, Interline Publishing.

Author(s) from Durham


Conservation and repair of historic rammed earth sites should only be undertaken if there is a good understanding of the consequences of any intervention technique. Until recently there has been little interest in the characterisation of historic rammed earth construction, yet it is only with this understanding that successful conservation strategies can be adopted.
A survey of around 60 historic rammed earth sites in Spain constructed between 967AD and 1837AD has recently been undertaken. While all the sites are built primarily in rammed earth, the construction techniques and state of repair vary greatly. The high density of historic rammed earth structures in the Iberian peninsula is likely due to the Muslim presence there from the 8th century onwards. Initial expansion, a period of civil war and eventual defeat by Christians led to the construction of a large number of fortifications, many constructed in rammed earth. A famous example is the Alhambra at Granada, but there are hundreds of smaller sites throughout Spain. By the end of the 15th century Christians had replaced Muslims through most of Spain, but rammed earth continued to be used in both vernacular and monumental architecture.
Examples of historic construction techniques are presented and common features of historic rammed earth construction are identified. A classification is outlined and a clear development of the rammed earth technique is observed.


Conference details: 22-24 August 2007, Bangalore, India.

Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China