The facade on the right has diagonal cross-bracing, the facade on the left has horizontal bracing. We were told that the facades are usually symmetrical, so if you look at the facade from the right edge, the diagonal braces go down, up, down, up, down... no up to the left of the window above the former entrance door. It's like something is missing.
|The left facade, June 2011. Note horizontal cross-bracing.|
|The right facade, June 2011. Note diagonal cross-bracing.|
|Hard to see, but the central post is XII, the one to the right can be seen as XIII. Note also the different thickness.|
The photo above shows that the base beam on the right is thicker than that on the left (not so conducive with one building phase where they might have taken care, or perhaps even tried to use one single beam).
Measuring between the edge of the door frame and the inner wall surface on each side of the dividing wall, and taking into account the usual symmetry in such facades, the distance from the edge of the right door to the dividing wall tallies with what one might expect given the spacing of the timbers on the far right of the facade. There's a bigger distance on the left side which suggests that it's not "in harmony".
|Right corner, and new upper wall from 1937.|
To cut a long story short, we think the right side of the building is older than the left. We think there was a smaller building here, with upper levels entirely half-timbered, and some time in the past the left side was added on, with a stone gable, and that at this time the entire roof was replaced to make a single roof structure. The room layout is almost perfectly symmetrical on each side, but it is odd that no such attempt was made to make the facade symmetrical.
This is all based on clues above, but we'll need an expert opinion, and maybe some dendrochronology to get some harder facts. We'll also do a little more documentary research to see if we can get some earlier maps. It just occurred to me that I found some charcoal while digging a test pit in the stalls on the right of the house (it's damp there, and I was trying to see if the groundwater was a bit high), and this could be carbon dated. If I could find some on the other side...
This is what happens when you have an archaeologist (my wife) and someone who worked in archaeology for almost 8 years (me, but I never called myself an archaeologist). Old habits die hard. Still only a theory though!
Since then, Franz gave us contact details for an expert on putting together the historical story of such houses, so looks like we'll have a better idea later this year.