School of Humanities



Martina Mueller-Zaugg

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3404
Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1182


Start date

Jan 2007

Submission date

Dec 2011


Martina Mueller-Zaugg

Martina Mueller-Zaugg profile photo


Rebuilding the past: The accuracy of full size reconstructions of Roman buildings in northwestern Europe and the reasons for their creation


My research focuses on the speculative recreation of Roman buildings in countries such as Austria, Britain, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. These structures are usually built entirely with new material but are based on various sources providing information about the original appearance of the structure that is (partly) lost. My thesis addresses two main questions: Why have these reconstructions been built and what sources have been used? The choice of sources not only determines the general appearance of a reconstruction but also the degree of its accuracy in reproducing the ancient original. As some of these buildings are recreated at excavation sites, on top of original remains, my research also analyses the influence of current conservation principles on these sites.

Why my research is important

Full size reconstructions are a very contentious means of presenting the archaeological heritage. Where they have been built in situ they inevitably affect the original remains. They also might not show the buildings as they would have looked like in Roman times. Despite these qualms reconstructions continue to be very popular and there are currently several sites where recreations are being built. So far however only few studies have focused on full size reconstructions and my research is the first that provides an in depth analysis of the sources used for reconstructed Roman buildings and of the reasons why they have been built. The thesis investigates for the first time just how (in-)accurate these modern creations are and how the different projects have been justified despite issues such as destruction of extant remains and falsification of original structures.


  • UPA Scholarship