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16 Revealing Traditions in Earthen Architecture: Analysis of Earthen Building Material and Traditional Constructions in the Western Himalayas

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Chapter Summary

The author reports the results of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) expedition to Western Tibet (Ngari) and beyond in 2010, as well as research conducted in Ladakh in August and September 2011. For a detailed examination of earth material, a wide range of samples was taken from all over the Western Himalayan region. The following observations are based on laboratory analysis of a selection of different types of soil for comparative purposes. Judging from the samples, the minerals were transported only for relatively short distances from their sources to the construction sites. A sample of the unplastered external wall of the Kardong monastery at Kyelong in Lahul and the samples from the Nubra valley was found to be made up of loess-like sediments. The chapter draws on the findings of laboratory research to discuss the geological parameters that contribute to the qualities of different kinds of earthen building materials.

Keywords: Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW); earthen architecture; Ladakh; traditional constructions; Western Himalayan region



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