Building 848

The evidence for this building in the original consists of a chalk floor with a hearth but no stake holes for the walls. This means that any structure that we build has to leave no trace.

The different thatching styles used.

The different thatching styles used.

The main structure consists of larch rafters with woven hazel ringbeams. One section of the building is completely woven hazel, this provides a base for the grass thatch to fix to.On the other sections we have experimented with different thatching materials and methods, with most of the thatch on the roof tied on with willow.

The grass thatch.

The grass thatch.

A floor has also been laid in the building made from crushed chalk.

The interior of the building showing the floor.

The interior of the building showing the floor.

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Building 547

With the end of this phase of the project in sight, and the buildings almost finished, we thought it would be a good idea to dedicate the next few days blogs to each building.

Building 547

The north-west corner of the building.

The north-west corner of the building.

This building has been used to test a lot of our construction theories. A different method was employed in each quarter of the building. Two sections of wall were woven with a diagonal weave and two were woven horizontally.

The doorway in the south wall. Two different weaving styles can be seen.

The doorway in the south wall. Two different weaving styles can be seen.

The roof was also divided into sections which allowed us to experiment with rafter placement, ways of attaching the ringbeams and different thatching materials.

the different thatching methods that we tried.

the different thatching methods that we tried.

We also used this building to test our daub material before we used it on building 851.

The chalk daub test section.

The chalk daub test section.

More about roofs

We have been working on all three buildings today.

On building 848 we have been learning to thatch in a more traditional method, by tying the thatch to the roof. This is the first time that any of our volunteers had thatched and the results were very good, and to make things more interesting, we were also tying the thatch on with willow.

Tying the thatch to building 848.

Tying the thatch to building 848.

With building 851 we have been continuing with weaving the roof. We have also re-tied the ridge pole and adjusted the rafters, creating a more symmetrical roof.

The re-tied roof of building 851 with the facing southern side still to finish

The re-tied roof of building 851 with the facing southern side still to finish.

We took the birch rafters off of building 547 as they weren’t quite long enough to give the roof pitch that we need. We have replaced them with longer larch poles and are now going to test different construction methods on the quarters that we have created.

The main rafters in place.

The main rafters in place.

Return to the woods

After a week away we returned to the woods with flint axes in hand.
Many of the axes had been repaired or re hafted and their edges honed in preparation for the task ahead.

The mission today was to cut down twenty larch trees. These trees were far more substantial than the hazel coppice, being about twelve years old but, because they are a softwood, we wondered if they would be any easier.

Trees to be cut

Trees to be cut

The first signs were promising as the sound of flint axes striking trees echoed through the woods and large chippings littered the floor. It wasn’t long before the first tree crashed to the ground and from then on trees were harvested at a steady rate.

The first one down

The first one down

Larch poles ready to go

Larch poles ready to go

Tomorrow we move on to something larger!