Literally, to construct again; in the archaeological context this is taken to mean the rebuilding of something using non‐original materials but to a design or pattern that is well established. This applies to structures and artefacts. Thus in the case of a ruined Roman villa it may be appropriate to reconstruct the main walls of the building to a certain height, using the original foundations and reusing the stone present in the excavated collapsed remains of the original wall. It would not be appropriate, however, to reconstruct the roof of that same building because it is not known exactly what it was like. When carrying out reconstruction it is normal to discretely mark the boundary between the original construction and the reconstruction for future reference. The main aim of reconstruction is usually a combination of preservation and presentation.
A variation on conventional reconstruction is experimental reconstruction within the context of experimental archaeology. Here, all available archaeological evidence is used to propose the nature of the original structure which is then reconstructed to see whether it could in fact have been like that and what the alternatives might be.
Subjects: Archaeology — Architecture.