Iron Age Experiments

The following experiments were carried out by David Freeman

NB: All roundhouses within the enclosure are built to match the original footprint of each excavated site. This includes the post-size and spacing. Materials used to construct each house are sourced to match those from the landscape, local to the excavation, at the time the original house was built.

Little Woodbury roundhouse
Aim: To explore the engineering and construction of a major two-ring Wessex house.To record the material quantities required to build a house of this scale.

Moel y Gerddi roundhouse
Aim: To explore the engineering and construction of a small two-ring roundhouse. To also explore the use of a back door, the running of a fire in a sunken fireplace in the floor, and monitoring burning under the hearth.

Glastonbury Lake Village roundhouse M74
Aim: To explore the engineering and construction of a lightweight roundhouse as found on a lake village. Exploration of alternate materials and minimalist construction. Rebuild of the roof to replace minimal purlins from phase one, and change thatch from slope to rings, to prove material savings between the two styles.

Glastonbury Lake Village roundhouse M59
Aim: To explore the engineering and construction of a lightweight roundhouse as found on a lake village. To calculate the weight and quantity of materials in a minimalist build.

Danebury Hillfort roundhouse CS1
Aim: To explore the engineering and construction of a plank-built roundhouse. To construct and observe a packed chalk floor. To furnish and dress a house to Iron Age standards, using evidence for all items. To create a ‘live’ experience for schools and public.

Roundhouse roofs
Aim: To explore the workings of the thatch and roof space. Items of interest include: Height of smoke ceiling and clear space under it; escape of smoke through the thatch; containment of combustion grasses and oxygen levels; deposition of tar on the inside surfaces; preservation of food due to smoke; thickness of thatch layer; methods of thatching; rainwater run-off and drying; pest infestation.

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Inside the Little Woodbury