The finale on this tour was in Albersdorf, Northern Germany where I was to find some familiar faces hanging out in leather and skins, pottering about a beautiful Mesolithic encampment nestled within the incredible Steinzeit Park. The centre, with its 100 hectares of enviable oak woodland and megalithic monuments, portrays life in the sedentary part of the stone age with re-constructions of a huge range of buildings mainly from the Neolithic. They are mostly large, impressive roundwood timber structures with an extensive array of interior furnishings to match the period they are representing.
During my time there, archaeology students from Hamburg University were busying themselves with a whole host of different crafts, including bone work, medicinal herbalism, flint knapping and of course, booze brewing. However, the main event for me was seeing the Living Mesolithic Project; where a dozen or so volunteers spent two weeks attempting to live like Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. The group was situated behind a rope (which seemed a little human-zoo-like), but on the other side was a scene like no other. I ventured in, at Werner’s (the organiser) invitation and wondered round in complete awe; a couple of kids were fishing (with bow and arrows), another was paddling round in a dugout canoe, someone was knapping flint, someone else was making birch-bark containers, meat was being smoked, nets were being fixed, lunch was being cooked on hot rocks over the fire… It was little bit surreal.
Werner took me into the main hut and we chatted for a few hours about how it all started, how he built the structures, thatching techniques, how he stocked the lake with trout & carp, about life in Namibia and the San Bushpeople… about rewilding, politics, the EU and access to land…all the important stuff.
Now then, back to Blighty and the roof of a Saxon Hall…