Mineral building materials and regionally related methods of processing are an essential part of building culture throughout the Himalayas. Based on transregional knowledge transfer, raw materials have been able to find an ecologically and economically optimised destiny in particular local applications. For this study, samples were collected as raw material or originated from certain building components. Samples were analysed according to their material properties and architectural application. Traditional building techniques were examined and their correlation with traceable material qualities studied. Clay-specific properties such as colour, grain size distribution, grain shape, hardness, plasticity, organic additives, or bulk and clay mineral properties were used as comparative parameters.
This study gives fresh insight into the interaction between technical requirements, environmental resources and material implementation. It is the first scientific approach in studying the Himalayan earthen heritage in a wide scope and connecting material research and cultural heritage from various perspectives - in particular archaeology, architecture, research on materials and building techniques.