What made you want to get involved with the Neolithic Houses project?
I live in Durrington and was invited by friends to volunteer for a couple of days on the Riverside Project dig which uncovered the Neolithic houses, when I heard about the English Heritage Neolithic House project I couldn’t resist being a part of making the archaeology come alive.
My partner’s Granddad John was part of the Ministry of works, and was there when the lintels were raised in the 1950s and now I will be able to tell my Grandchildren that Nanny helped build the houses on the Stonehenge landscape too.
What are you enjoying about the project so far?
Pretty much everything, being taught new skills by Paul and Luke from the Ancient Technology Centre , putting them into practice and being part of a team creating a village and living experience which will be on our local landscape for some time to come – as well as being a part of our history.
Is there any part of the project that you’re particularly looking forward to or that you are particularly interested in?
The first fire being lit in any of these buildings, but particularly the one I have spent most time working on. From my experience at Old Sarum in the prototype build I know this will be a very emotional and proud moment.
In what ways has being involved in this project made you think differently about the people of Stonehenge and their lives?
I have learned and thought about many things on the project, for example:
- how incredibly resourceful our ancestors were
- how they must have been physically fit and tenacious – working as they would have been through some most disagreeably cold and harsh weather
- how their clothing must have needed to be fit for purpose – e.g materials gathering in the woods and building
- what did they eat to be able to maintain the energy required to build these houses? My diet has changed to include more protein and don’t mention the cake and biscuits being eaten daily (that’s my excuse)!
What do you do when you’re not building Neolithic houses?
Sleeping mostly! Ha ha! It is hard work, and at the end of the day a hot bath, hot meal and occasional hot toddy are the order of the evening.
When I found out about this project I had just been made redundant and rather than going back to a full time desk job or office management I took a weekend night job in a local supermarket to make ends meet and enable me to commit four days a week to the project. Fortunately I have an understanding partner Dave who has supported me in this. It has been the most interesting project I have had the privilege to be involved in.
What would you say to people who are tempted to volunteer at Stonehenge?
Try it! If you are fit and healthy, not afraid of hard work and would like the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people on this planet.
I have spoken to people from all around the world and from all walks of life and they all have a different story to tell but they all have one thing in common – a need to visit Stonehenge and experience a unique part of British history.
The houses will bring Neolithic history to life and give a more sensory experience to all and you will make life long friends to boot.
Would YOU like to help us bring the stories of the Neolithic people to life?
If you are interested in becoming 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, 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.