This paper investigates the methodology employed in the recent survey and reconstruction of the major Early Byzantine domed churches of western Asia Minor. This involved both the documentation of construction details, as well as their interpretation by reference to coeval monuments elsewhere. Focusing on this methodology, the author explores techniques of graphical recording and the theoretical framework within which parallels with other buildings can inform the work of reconstruction. The detailed examination of two case studies illustrates the way in which seemingly random scraps of testimony can be interpreted to provide evidence for the missing superstructure of ruined churches. These case studies also serve to demonstrate how the methodology adapts to sites with different characteristics, and helps to assess the credibility of the resulting graphic reconstructions.