Standards > Feature Mapping


Chinese-sponsored project at Angkor Wat.

Feature mapping records observable elements on the horizontal and vertical surfaces of an historic resource. These elements include cracks and spalls, exposed reinforcing or other metal work, markings, and craft or construction details. At a gun battery, the feature map treats each area of surface as a separate component of the structure, and begins with the preparation of vertical and horizontal base maps for each emplacement. The vertical base map depicts in true scale each adjacent vertical surface, so that the map appears as a set of contiguous rectangles. Horizontal base maps outline the superior slope, loading platform, and if necessary, the parade. Separate base maps cover the first and second levels of two-story batteries, and encompass interior spaces as well, including the ceiling.
Feature mapping is labor intensive, but it produces documentation that is highly accurate and comprehensive. It is also an undertaking that can be conducted by trained volunteers. No other technique provides such a thorough foundation of information, and the result is invaluable as a resource in preparing scopes of work or estimating the cost of repairs.

The Existing Management Plan, Chapter 4: Standards and Guidelines for the Preservation Process, Seacoast Fortifications Preservation Manual, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service & KEA Environmental, July 1999


The Harris Matrix, Bermuda Maritime Museum

In the simplest of terms, but dealing with that most complicated of ideas, namely, time, the Matrix is a new type of calendar, which allowed archaeologists for the first time, to see the stratigraphic sequences of complex sites. Calendars and clock faces are two of the few ways in which we can ‘see’ absolute time, for since it has no physical reality, but is inherent in most things, it must be translated to a diagrammatic form to be understood as a schedule or sequence. The Matrix provided that translator for the relative (Which came first?) time inherent in archaeological sites, to its display in a diagram which represents the stratigraphic sequence, or relative-time calendar, of such sites.
The Matrix shows the stratigraphic sequence of a site in a diagram, which is the only way it is readily comprehensible. The stratigraphic sequence on every site is unique, due to the limited physical boundaries and time-span of strata and features on archaeological sites. The stratigraphic sequence, seen as a ‘matrix’ (as it is now commonly called), is the unique ‘testing pattern’ for all later (artifact, ecofact, chronological and topographical) analyses of a site. Since artifacts can travel (but stratification cannot), they can be used to say whatever might be wished, if the archaeologist does not have a stratigraphic sequence against which to test their validity in time and space. (Indeed, one might say, for example, that seriation without stratification, is like a boat without a bottom.) The Matrix, or stratigraphic sequence, is the main station into which all recording flows and out of which all analyses will commence and forever be accountable to. It is an indispensable tool and is of universal application, because the study of stratification, before the analyses of

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