Welcome to the Building Archaeology Research Database (BARD)

What is BARD?

  1. This database contains over 1500 tree-ring dated buildings (mostly in England), together with summaries of some of the key features of their timber-framing.
  2. It is aim as an on-line tool for everyone interested in building archaeology to find and share research.
  3. BARD is a non-profit-making internet-based building archaeology research database, aimed at further developing the age estimation of timber-framed and brick buildings.
  4. It provides a quick and easy-to-use method for systimatically recording key features in buildings. Because many of these features have known date ranges, they help to narrow down the date of construction of a building.
  5. BARD can not only helps you date your home, but also contributes to our knowledge of how different building styles developed through the centuries and across regions.

Until BARD was launched in 2012, the UK had no comprehensive national, regional or local index for building records. BARD has been designed as an easy to use and accessible summary index for both published and unpublished building records. It aims to be an important research tool and encourage everyone’s involvement in building archaeology. Its current 13,000+ records can be freely searched on-line. Building recording groups are encouraged to apply for details to allow them to enter and amended records at no cost.

How does BARD work?

From our knowledge of buildings that have already been dated, we know the typical date ranges for some building archaeological features. BARD lets users record and compare these archaeological features for their own house (or other building) on an easy-to-use tick-sheet, allowing the likely date of construction to be narrowed down.

What are the advantages of BARD?

BARD uniquely combines the ability to enter, update, search, summarise and archive data on both timber-framed and brick buildings (up to the mid-19th century), all online. A particularly useful feature is the searchable free-form text field, which can be used to record and search for “key” features (such as open-hall houses or queen post roofs), or other features of research interest.

A second unique feature of BARD is the “Tick-box” recording sheet. The “Tick-box” sheet provides a systematic way of recording the stylistic features in buildings and, because the common date ranges of “key” features are shown, it also helps in the dating of a building during its recording.

Not sure what a queen strut looks like?

To help you understand the terms used in the “Tick-box” sheet, you can download an illustrated glossary of building features. To ensure common nomenclature, the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA) illustrated glossary of timber-framing terms has generally been used, and this book provides a useful and extensive guide to features in timber-framed buildings. As long as you have internet access, you can instantly upload survey data and compare and share it easily. All users are able to search the database, but the ability to add, amend and edit records is usually restricted to your own data.

Freely available to download from this site (as PDF’s files):

Recording sheets – These simply yet comprehensive ‘tick-box’ recording sheets allow you to systematic record the stylistic features of a building and indicate a likely date of construction.

An Illustrated glossary – Building terminology can be very confusing and this pictorial glossary helps the identification of features.

A published paper – This research paper concentrates on Surrey, but it shows the potential of using BARD to produce comparable studies for other areas.