Examination of material remains of previous human societies help study past human behaviour in archaeology. One of the most important remains includes the ruins of historic buildings. The use of computerized recording equipment and three-dimensional plotting are essential tools for researchers to recreate a ruined structure for reconstruction and further analysis. However, the reliability of the precision of the reconstructed model can be very controversial due to the absence of sufficient historical information and fabric loss. Within the study of Portus, structural analysis has proved to be an alternative or confirming tool for reconstruction in addition to site survey and historical investigation. On the basis of stability of the ruined structures, possible hypothetical forms can structurally be analysed under the associated loads and the resulting behaviour can be assessed to determine its actual form.
The use of structural analysis, through finite element modelling (FEM) can be seen through the recent work on Building 5. A number of hypothetical forms of the structure were produced through procedural modelling and tested using FEM software. The approach allowed us to identify what forms were structurally stable through the information derived from the excavation, geophysical and laser scan data. The analysis not only testes the building work through its form, but also through its material properties. It adds a further scientific approach to the computational modelling used with in Portus, adding to the realistic nature of the computational models produced.