PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh’s oldest building will celebrate its 250th anniversary next year. But first, the Fort Pitt Block House is getting a “physical exam,” including X-rays.

Curator Emily Hoover says the two-story building’s brick walls still rest on the original timbers.

“In the past, if there was a rotted timber the tradition was to completely replace it,” she said. “That is not something that we want to do. What we want to do is preserve the building.”

The beams are being X-rayed by TUV Rheinland Industrial Services.

Radiation Safety Director Chris Dugan says the rays pass through the wood, from inside to outside.

“We take a radioactive material source that passes through, and is transferred to the imaging plate on the other side. When we take the exposure, pick these up, take them over to the mobile unit,” he said.

Where it appears on a video screen.

“We’re looking for any kind of void which would be black spots, which show a lack of material inside that timber,” Dugan said. “In this view, I don’t see anything substantial.”

If holes are located, an engineering firm will fill them. Eighteenth-century timbers may be saved by state of the art technology.

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