Vol. XV, No. 2
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Fall, 2002

Measuring Ancient Structures

In the last issue of the CSA Newsletter (Vol. XV, No. 1) there was an article concerning appropriate levels of precision to be used when measuring ancient structures entitled "Measuring with Precision and Accuracy. " The conclusion reached was a simple one: scholars need to work to the precision required by projects, not to some artificially high level of precision that is neither necessary nor achievable.

An important secondary issue was ignored in that article. Whether working with sub-mm. precision or with gross measurements and very low precision, scholars taking measurements of buildings from the distant past are necessarily using dimensional systems that are different from and probably unrelated to the dimensional systems used by the designers and construction crews who created those buildings. Scholars measure in meters and sub-units thereof. The buildings they study were planned and constructed with a variety of other measuring units.

An article by Harrison Eiteljorg, II concerning both the precision question discussed in the last issue of the Newsletter and the problem of measuring in a unit system different from the ones used on ancient buildings will be appearing in the online Nexus Newtwork Journal (http://www.nexusjournal.com) about the same time that this Newsletter is posted on the CSA Web site. The article, entitled "How Should We Measure an Ancient Structure?" may be found at http://www.nexusjournal.com/Eiteljorg.html ; it should be relevant to the work of those who study ancient structures.

For other Newsletter articles concerning applications of CAD modeling in archaeology and architectural history, consult the Subject index.

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