We had to interrupt our usual Hands on Heritage group the week before last, as we agreed to spend the day with the Avalon Marshes Young Wardens. The premise was to introduce them to the kinds of heritage activities that our usual adult group gets up to.
This involved teaching the young ‘uns traditional woodworking and helping them get to grip with hurdle making through the re-construction of different prehistoric trackways.
After lunch we got very involved in our ambitious project to build a traditional, Iron Age oven… all in an afternoon. The bread baking beast was a simple dome of clay and straw, built round a basket-like-former of willow. The design was initially based on the plans of one found during the excavations of Glastonbury Lake Village- however, I suspect ours turned out slightly larger.
The Wednesday just past, was a slightly more macho affair. Without our usual female grounding, us blokes decided what a grand idea it would be to dismantle the now (extremely) unstable roundhouse. It had been looking quite sad for a number of years and was slowly slumping towards one side due to the extreme weight of thatch pushing down on the worm-eaten timbers.
After much discussion and debate, we settled on just taking down the dodgy looking porch, as that seemed the most unsafe. However, after an hour or so of persuasion the porch itself held firm, but the roundhouse behind it came toppling down.
The long timbers that once formed the rafters of the mighty structure were stacked up, ready to be re-used as bearers for our delivery of new wood from Exmoor National Park. The first load of this illusive titan of timber is booked in to be delivered next Wednesday… Then the fun will really start!