Sunday, 9 August 2009

Viking Re-enactment Day

This is a wonderful multi-period permanent site at Cranborne. There are wonderful houses from past period including an Iron Age Round House, a Roman building, a Grubenhaus (or SFB - Sunken Feature Building as they are spoken of in archaeological reports), and a wonderful turf-roofed Earth-house. Here is a link to a site about the entire project, including lots of photographs and better views than I could provide.

Technology as it used to be in the fork of a pole lathe. Here a piece of wood is being prepared for turning. My husband and dear friend Gay looking on.
Isn't this Earth-house wonderful? I can't pin it down to a particular period (their web page makes it a combination of Neolithic wood henge and Iron Age roundhouse), but I will say that the remains of circles of huge (tree-sized) post holes have been found across the country - the sites I remember, being Mount Pleasant in Dorset, and also the Greyhound Yard excavation in Dorchester - where post holes are painted on to the concrete in the Waitrose basement car park . . . BUT these were both henge monuments - rather than buildings with huge posts like this. It's an amazing place inside.

The lady is holding a "bull roarer" which makes one heck of a noise when swung round the head (as it is in the picture below). It is a means of communicating over long distances, and has a very venerable history, dating back to Paleolithic times. It is also known as a rhombus or turndun. Follow the link for the appropriate Wikipedia page and another link to the Pitt-Rivers museum.

The interior of the wonderful Earth House (very Lord of the Rings from the outside).

Above and below: A selection of the musical instruments being displayed. Some were for sale, but a tad expensive for our pockets!

Cooking was authentic and the lid looks as if it has seen much use, and over hotter fires than this one!

There were several staged battles during the day, then the children were invited in to have a go!

Flint nodules as they are when they are dug out of the ground. Useful for building (see Knowlton entry) as well
I think this wonderful wooden chest is going to be created by my husband over the winter months . . . We just need to get the hinges made up by a local blacksmith.

Tablet weaving - have put the feelers out for my husband to make me the tablets from leather, or else buy me some for Christmas. Meanwhile I have a very small loom which I fund at a car boot sale for £1, which I am going to learn to weave on.

The herb plot by the Roman house.

Net making. This man was very interesting to talk to and I came away thinking, I can make haynets now . . . ! (He was making fishing nets).

The SFB. That is, Sunken Feature Building or Grubenhaus. Very Anglo-Saxon and the sunken floor is usually considered a feature that enabled wool to be stored at ambient temperature so it didn't get too dry to spin. The two hammocks contain fleece . . .

Splitting chestnut logs for shingles for the roof of the latest building, the huge Viking longhouse.


sukipoet said...

wow this is totally fascinating. i love that earth house. i also love place that set up like this. Here we have Plimouth Plantation (early Pilgrims) and Williamsburg. But of course nothing as early as these.

Bovey Belle said...

I think it's brilliant that it has all been done by volunteers and quite a bit of it has been experimental archaeology - finding how to do things as they went along. The day out we had here was my husband's favourite part of our holiday.

I did some Colonial/plantation archaeology when I was at Uni - so different to the Medieval Castles, landscapes and prehistory I was doing.

Rowan said...

I wish I'd known about this place when I was in Dorset - it looks absolutely fascinating. I can see why you are interested in the tablet weaving, I wonder if it's one of those ' easy when you know how' crafts that are much harder to actually do than you'd think when you watch someone else.

ren said...

hi there BB, looks fantastic there i read something about it a couple of years ago and thought ooh, must go there as its really near, then forgot !!! I wonder how often its open, im sure the boys would love it.
Fab photos too !!

Kim said...

Oh this is very like our ancient farm, but waaay better :) What a great day you had, thanks for sharing those lovely pictures :)

Kim x

Morning's Minion said...

I think living history museums are the best--one can get a feel for how things were really done. I am very drawn to that herb garden.

thelma said...

"is usually considered a feature that enabled wool to be stored at ambient temperature so it didn't get too dry to spin."

Hi Jennie, that's interesting, though if the wool was greasy it would have been easy enough to spin, perhaps the sheep were soay.
If you want any weaving stuff by the way try 'Fibrecraft', expensive but interesting. My loom is coming out soon;)
That place sounds fascinating, always wanted to make a pole lathe.

Bovey Belle said...

Thelma - that's what we had in a lecture at Uni. I suppose, much depends on the outside temps and how long you need to keep the wool for?

MM - I have a "thing" about herb gardens too and have a goodish one here, though I don't do much of the still room tinctures and tissanes with what I grow. I should I know, as I love that sort of thing, as does Rowan, who has enviably been on courses.

Kim - it's similar to Butser Hill but has multi period houses. Is Butser Hill still just an Iron Age encampment?

Ren and Rowan - it is only open on certain days of the year to us ordinary folk, which is a pity, but a friend of mine was saying it is a very popular destination for school trips in that area. Ill away and find the website for you.

Bovey Belle said...

I finally found it: