stage 2. Working on site

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The goal of a site visit is to catalogue all the Romanesque sculpture.  Every example of Romanesque sculpture should be assigned as part of a feature, photographed and a caption created.  Note: please assign sculpture to the list of CRSBI names for all possible features


What to include

If an architectural feature contains any sculptural work, then it should be described in full in your entry, and photographed. Obviously for a doorway of one order with no shafts or capitals and a plain archivolt but carved imposts, the entry will be short, but it should be done system­atically, as described below, measurements made and photographs taken. You may later find that the same type of carving appears on the imposts of a more elaborate doorway, and the systematic observations and measurements made on the first site may help you to decide whether the same workshop was active in both places. Similar considerations have led to the decision that plain fonts should be included.


How to begin

First, familiarise yourself with the building by walking around it, inside and out, and taking notes.  It is often useful to make a sketch plan at this stage.  Try to work out the building sequence by dating the various parts of the building, and make notes on building materials.  While you are doing this, of course, you will have noted Romanesque features that you are going to record.  It is worth double-checking to ensure that you have not missed anything – in particular, examine the fabric inside and out looking for reused stones.  Make certain that you have found the features noted in Pevsner and any other sources you have used.  Loose stones can be very problematic:  fragments recorded loose in the porch by Pevsner could have been moved elsewhere or even stolen since he saw them.  Some stones only make periodic appearances: two of our fieldworkers found a group of chevron voussoirs and a small capital being used to make an Easter Sepulchre in a small parish church.  Had they arrived at any other time of year, the stones would have been locked away in a cupboard in the vestry.


Descriptions of features

Remember to use the glossary for preferred terms. For complex features, such as doorways, divide your work into preliminary observations, detailed description, measurements and photography. There is, of course, no reason why you should not take the measurements first if this is the way you prefer to work, but there is much to be said for taking your photographs last, when you have familiarised yourself with the subject.



By far the easiest approach to most buildings is to photograph them as if they had never been photographed before.  I would recommend that photographs from archives (such as the Conway and the N.M.R.) should only be used to supplement your own photography on the rare occasions when restoration or other work in progress on a site makes a particular view impossible to photograph, or when sculpture is inaccessible without scaffolding or a 400mm lens.



Once you have identified the features for recording, describe, measure and photograph them following the guidelines given for each feature.  Two people work much more quickly than one, but each must know his or her duties, and the person who is to write the report must be satisfied with the record that has been taken.