Contrary to popular belief, not all the buildings in the Iron Age were round. In fact, a great many of the non-residential, ancillary structures were square or rectangular, built using a simple arrangement of pairs of vertical posts stuck in the ground. The most common of these found within Iron Age settlements, is the humble ‘four-poster’.
Faced with the constant problem of wind and rain ruining our fun, and eager to get our teeth into a building project (whilst the engineers and planners pour over the main structure’s plans), we decided it was high time we had a go at creating one of these structures to act as an outdoor, covered work area.
We chose a vaguely level bit of ground opposite our roundhouse and began by cropping the materials needed from the stands of wood around us. The front posts, one a living tree, the other a willow stem, were chosen as they should continue to grow as time passes, making the building stronger and thus thwarting any attempts by mother nature to rot them. Utilising convenient crucks, we raised the wall plate, then dropped it into place; spanning the distance between the two supports.
The back uprights, this time of good ol’ impervious oak, were positioned and had ‘tusks’ cut into them. These fit into a corresponding hole within the wall plate. The wall plates (front and back) are made from alder, which was felled and trimmed up to sit nicely in the crucks at the front and squarely upon the posts at the back.
The back wall will be wattle and daubed to give the area shelter from driving wind and rain, but the remaining sides will most likely be left open. The roof will also be wattled with coppiced hazel rods and then thatched with reed left over from the fallen roundhouse.
Watch this space to see the building progress over the coming weeks.