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Buildings archaeology is relatively new in New Zealand. It was an integral part of the archaeological programme in the Wellington Inner City Bypass Project, and the 1850s Westney House at Mangere in Auckland. Buildings archaeology focuses on systematically recording construction methods and materials, and analysing the materials, to uncover the history of the building and complement the in-ground archaeology.

Historical records often do not exist and the changes a building has been through are not immediately obvious. Detailed recording of décor, sub-floor, house framing and construction methods provides information on chronology and technology, and contributes to the growing body of knowledge about colonial buildings in New Zealand.

Buildings are recorded through detailed measured drawings, photographs and collection of samples such as timber, nails and bricks for analysis.

  The Westney house, Mangere, prior to excavation.