3.6 Development and Testing of Modular Lightweight Shelters for Archaeological Sites

The Getty Conservation Institute
Vinzenz Sedlak Proprietary Limited

Neville Agnew
Vinzenz Sedlak
Period of Activity: 1987-1989

Project Abstract
Many important sites remain unprotected after excavation, and are either abandoned to the elements or, less frequently, reburied. There is a need to develop an affordable, modu lar shelter design that uses inexpensive materials and that can be erected easily using hand tools and semiskilled labor. The modular units comprising the shelter should be easily transportable, in breakdown kit form, to remote sites and over difficult terrain. The shelter should be able to be expanded in lateral dimensions to cover sites of different size and shape by simply adding modules to create an integral structure.

A prototype design, dubbed "Hexashelter," was developed at the GCI. This was based on a tetrahedral geometry of connector nodes. It consisted of two basic elements: the tetra hedral nodes and connecting rods, which together produced a puckered hexagon over which fabric could be stretched. Inexpensive, knitted shadecloths (aerotextiles) that are available commercially for the horticultural industry were evaluated for suitability as shelter fabrics. A small-scale prototype was erected at Fort Selden, New Mexico for field testing. Additional design work, structural stability evaluation, and computer testing was conducted by Sedlak.

Primary Publications
Sedlak, V., "Report on the Evaluation Study of the Hexashelter Modular Shelter System," Final Report to the Getty Conservation Institute, June 1989.

ABSTRACT-The consultant evaluated the "Hexashelter" concept to include the fol lowing key points using the Orpheus Mosaic, Kato Paphos, Cyprus, as the model site:

a.) structural analysis and stability evaluation for wind and snow loads;

b.) identification of attachment membrane/frame;

c.) exploration of possible roofing materials that do not require patterning;

d.) evaluation of practical sizes for the Unit Module;

e.) information on frame member sizes related to module size and loading;

f.) information on footing/anchorages/guy ropes required for stability;

g.) study of roof drainage patterns;

h.) study of possible modifications to the module and its components;

i.) study of module arrangement to suit a variety of applications;

j.) proposal for rainwater run-off for the above arrangements; and

k.) study and proposal for optional protective side-walling.