Building Archaeology Workshops

Building Archaeology Workshops

The UMass Workshops in Building Archaeology offer specialized training in key topics by leaders in the field. Workshop are included for Field School participants and are also available a la carte. Unless otherwise indicated, all workshops will be at the University of Massachusetts Amherst or the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House and Museum, Hadley, MA.

Building Technology ~ June 10-13

Instructors: Thomas Paske, Restoration Carpenter and Preservation Consultant with Myron Stachiw, Faculty, UMass Amherst MS Program in Historic Preservation

This four-day workshop will help participants to understand, recognize, and date (as well as it can be done) the changing nature of building technology from the 17th century to the mid-19th century (pre-industrial hand technology to early industrial machine technology).  The emphasis will be on how to use this information to help date the construction or alteration of historic buildings.  Topics covered will include

  • Wood processing technology from tree to building part
  • Brickmaking
  • Stoneworking
  • Glassmaking
  • Nailmaking
  • Hardware
  • Finishes and proportions by style/period

Dendrochronology ~ June 17 ~ at Historic Deerfield

Instructor: William Flynt, Architectural Conservator, Historic Deerfield

A one-day workshop on the theory, methods, and uses of dendrochronology to date historic buildings and furniture. There will be a demonstration of tools, coring, and analysis, and a  presentation of several case studies. The morning session will be followed by an optional tour of selected structures in Historic Deerfield with William Flynt and Myron Stachiw. The tour will focus on the methods of building archaeology and their uses and contributions to the restoration of Historic Deerfield buildings. Successfully completing this workshop qualifies attendees for 7 AIA learning units (HSW) from WMAIA.

Paint Analysis ~ June 18

Instructor: John Vaughan, Architectural Conservation Services

This 1 day workshop will include a lecture and demonstration of the uses and mechanics of paint sampling and analysis.  While determining colors is clearly one of the leading reasons paint analysis is used in restoration, this workshop will introduce participants to the idea of paint analysis as an archaeological tool to help identify historic fabric from different periods or introduced from other rooms or even buildings and help to interpret phases of construction and alteration.  The lecture/workshop will also cover the general trend in paint colors and paint types through the mid-late 19th century, identifying key markers that can be used to help date various types of paint and their application. Successfully completing this workshop qualifies attendees for 7 AIA learning units from WMAIA.

Building Documentation ~ June 19-20

Instructors: Claire Dempsey, Associate Professor, Boston University with Myron Stachiw, Faculty, UMass Amherst MS Program in Historic Preservation

During this two-day workshop with lectures and field exercises, participants will be exposed to the major forms and methods of field documentation:

  • Photography
  • Drawing (sketching and measured drawings, including plans, sections, elevations, details)
  • Written description: how to concisely and clearly describe building forms and types
  • Planning: developing an appropriate documentation plan based on available time, budget, project requirements, future uses of information

The Faculty

The workshop faculty are among the leading practitioners in New England. Together, they have nearly 150 years of combined experience in the field! To learn more about the faculty, click here: Faculty Bios.


The UMass Workshops in Building Archaeology are designed for:

  • Students, working professionals and aspiring practitioners in the fields of historic preservation, archaeology, architecture, and public history
  • Members of historical commissions and societies
  • Restoration craftspersons, planners and museum professionals
  • Alums and prospective/current students in the Historic Preservation M.S. Program


Optional housing is available in the UMass Amherst North Residential Area, which is approximately 4 miles from the field site. Parking and bus transportation are available. The North Residential Area features air-conditioned apartments. Each suite contains four single rooms, two private baths and a shared living room.

Registration and Deadlines

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the optional online preregistration form. Preregistration is not a commitment to attend. To finalize your registration and reserve your spot in the workshop, registration materials and payment must be received by April 25, 2014 for the full three-week course or May 1, 2014 for the workshops. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and participation is limited. Early applications are encouraged.

** Registration Materials and Instructions Coming Soon ** 

Workshop Fees 

  • Workshops: $125/day
  • Optional AIA learning units (7 learning units; dendrochronology and paint analysis workshops only): $75 (AIA members), $100 (non-member architects)
  • Optional CEUs from other professional organizations: contact Myron Stachiw for more information
  • Optional Housing: $48/night + $10 flat fee

More Information

For questions and additional information, contact Myron O. Stachiw:

Myron O. Stachiw

The Workshops in Building Archaeology are a program of the Architecture+Design Program, the Historic Preservation Program, and the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


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