Gallery Part 2

Advertisements

Focus on Techniques: Putting in the stakes

We thought it would be interesting to focus on some of the different building techniques we are using on site.

The first stage after determining where to put the house and setting out the shape of it, is to put in the stakes – which will form the uprights for the walls.

The walls when complete will be around 2 metres high and it would be very difficult to drive in a stake of that length. A shorter stake (around 70-80 cm)  is therefore trimmed to a point and driven into the ground.

Image

 

This then provides the support for a much taller stake (approx. 2 metres) which is tied to it using flexible willow ‘withies’ – a Neolithic version of the cable tie!   

Image

 The upright  stakes are then set approximately 70-80cm apart – to allow for the hazel to be woven in between them. The distance between the stakes is based on the archaeological evidence of stake holes found at the Durrington Walls houses  – which indicate that the builders of the original structures were using coppiced hazel of about 7 year growth.

Image

 

Meet the Team: Guy Hagg – Neolithic House Volunteer

guy daubing

Name: Guy Hagg

Role: Neolithic House Builder

 What made you want to get involved with the Neolithic Houses project?

My work involves making shelters from locally sourced woodland materials and I wanted to be involved with a project that makes more permanent buildings using craft skills such as coppicing, wattle and daub, thatching etc.

What are you enjoying about the project so far?

Great camaradarie amongst the team. Really good to see buildings taking shape

Is there any part of the project that you’re particularly looking forward to or that you are particularly interested in?

Showing people around the completed, furnished, buildings and explaining how people were able to live and flourish in the area 4500 years ago.

In what ways has being involved in this project made you think differently about the people of Stonehenge and their lives?

How organised the communities must have been to be able to arrange the harvesting and collection of the materials required to build the number of houses discovered at Durrington Walls. Being involved with this project makes you continually ask questions along the lines of “Just how did they do that?”

 What do you do when you’re not building Neolithic houses?

Bushcraft Instructor and model maker

 What would you say to people who are tempted to volunteer at Stonehenge?

Do it.

 

_____

Thanks Guy!

Additional Volunteering Opportunities

If you are interested in beoming a Stonehenge Neolithic House Interpretation Volunteer, you can find out more on the English Heritage website. As a Neolithic House Interpretation Volunteer you will be responsible for maintaining the Neolithic houses once they are built (which weather permitting will be by the end of April), by lighting fires and assisting with the building maintenance.  You will bring the stories of the Neolithic people to life in our external galleries and provide a warm and friendly welcome for all visitors, helping us to deliver a world class visitor experience.

Rafters are on!

This week we have made much better progress, now that some reasonable weather is here.
By the end of Monday we had completed weaving the walls on three of our buildings

The completed walls on two of the buildings.

The completed walls on two of the buildings.

The next task was to insert the central four pairs of rafters into the walls, these are inverted so that the tip of the rod goes into the wall weave. This allows the rafters to be bent over, creating a curve.

The rafters are inserted into the woven hazel wall.

The rafters are inserted into the woven hazel wall.

After tying the rafters to the ridge pole we fitted more rafters to the ends of the building, bending them over to meet a cross brace that was tied to the central rafters.

The rafters are temporarily tied.

The rafters are temporarily tied.

These rafters are temporarily fixed to the cross brace supporting the roof structure over the weekend. We will return on Monday to adjust and fix them permanently.

One set of end rafters in.

One set of end rafters in.

The progress at the end of week 3.

The progress at the end of week 3.

Gallery Part 1

We thought you’d like to see some photos from our first week on site (from the week before last) – we’ll be aiming to host a gallery for each week that we’re on site. Week 1 was setting up and sorting out the compound, putting up hazel fences around the build site and preparing materials.

Washed out week 2

This week has been severely cut short by the weather. Strong winds and heavy rain for three days this week has meant that work has been a bit slow!
We have only managed to complete two construction days but in those days we have seen some progress.

The walls are getting higher despite the weather!

The walls are getting higher despite the weather!

The walls are steadily growing with all teams really getting into the swing of weaving hazel. We hope to complete the walls at the beginning of next week.

Getting some work done while we can.

Getting some work done while we can.

Meet the Team: Nick Jones, Neolithic House Volunteer

Meet the team: Nick Jones

Meet the team: Nick Jones

The project is coming on a pace, despite the awful weather we have been having, which has meant that we’ve had to cancel one or two days builds.

Each week of the build we will be meeting one of the team of hardy volunteers who are braving the rain, wind and mud! This week we meet Nick Jones.

What made you want to get involved with the Neolithic Houses project?

I saw it as a wonderful learning opportunity – something that would improve my understanding of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and hopefully make me a better tour guide. I like working out of doors (my background is in architecture and environmental education), and I thought, ‘How extraordinary to be able to influence the Stonehenge landscape!’

What are you enjoying about the project so far?

It is giving me all I hoped for, and more. I enjoy the practical construction process, and the interesting questions continually being raised, but I also enjoy the growing bond between the volunteers. Although we came with diverse interests, motivations and expectations, we now have a strong sense of common purpose and pride in doing something special. I suspect it will last beyond the project, and I hope it will bring us back together to do other things.

Is there any part of the project that you’re particularly looking forward to or that you are particularly interested in?

Not really. I enjoy it all, although I am looking forward to Mother Nature actually letting us get on with the job! I am interested in finding out more about climate changes since the end of the last Ice Age, and how these may have influenced how people lived and the monuments they built.

In what ways has being involved in this project made you think differently about the people of Stonehenge and their lives?

I have always wondered how the monument came about. ‘OK lads, I’ve got an idea. Trust me, it will look great when it’s finished! All we have to do is walk 180 miles to Preseli and…”  Who was in charge, who was navigating, and who made the sandwiches? The project has made me think about all the other people and processes that supported everyday life: the woodland managers, who produced coppice for building; the flint knappers, who made and repaired all the axes; the chalk-pounders, who made daub for the walls and laid the floors; the thatchers, who collected and fixed the various materials to keep the rain out; and so on. House building was probably a cultural institution – ie everyone joined in, and everyone knew what needed to be done – fun for all the family!

What do you do when you’re not building Neolithic houses?

In the summer I am a driver guide, which means I drive mostly well-off, and mostly American, tourists around England and Wales. They stay in 5* hotels, and I get a B&B down the road. I specialise in World Heritage Sites – places like Bath (where I live), Blenheim Palace, the Jurassic Coast etc – but I also do a lot of the Cotswolds, Oxford, Stratford upon Avon, and so on. I love exploring new places! I also do a bit of consultancy in world heritage matters. Apart from that, I do a lot of ironing and hoovering because my partner has a proper job.

What would you say to people who are tempted to volunteer at Stonehenge?

I might say remember Oscar Wilde, who said, ‘I can resist anything except temptation’. But he also said, ”It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating’. So, I would say, ‘Ignore Oscar Wilde!’ What you want to find at Stonehenge, you probably will.

————-

Thanks Nick!

Additional Volunteering Opportunities

If you are interested in beoming a Stonehenge Neolithic House Interpretation Volunteer, you can find out more on the English Heritage website. As a Neolithic House Interpretation Volunteer you will be responsible for maintaining the Neolithic houses once they are built (which weather permitting will be by the end of April), by lighting fires and assisting with the building maintenance.  You will bring the stories of the Neolithic people to life in our external galleries and provide a warm and friendly welcome for all visitors, helping us to deliver a world class visitor experience.