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Building a Roundhouse in the Iron age.

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If you’ve ever thought about building your own home like they do on Grand designs spare a thought for our Iron Age ancestors who had to knock this sort of thing up themselves. It was quite a long-winded process but once it was up then you have a pretty sturdy structure that would last you for a quite a few years. As we shall see repairs are actually quite ease to make though and you don’t ned to worry about carpets as they didn’t have any. What they could have done with is a bit of metal bonding adhesive like the stuff you can buy at and of course, some metal to bond together, but instead that had to use daube. It’s really not as sticky and it certainly is smelly.

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First of all, one thing that our Iron Age ancestors liked to do was build on a hill. This wasn’t the only place they built but as archaeologists and landscape archaeologists can only generally find them on Hills the hill fort seems the most popular place. This makes the first stage is pretty hard. The basic frame of the Roundhouse is a series of evenly cut posts sunk into the ground. The ends of the posts are scorched as this prevents rot, at least for a while. You then use iron once they are arranged, leaving a gap for a door, no windows included that just lets the cold in, we start to nail in the roof posts. This doesn’t always have to be large posts. Woven willow is also useful as we will be putting thatch on top of that the to keep out the rain. The thatch is hard work and it needs to be tied and wedged into place. You do need to keep a small to medium sized hole in the roof because otherwise when you light the central fire the smoke will get everywhere. You also need that smoke to get up into the thatch and get good and congealed in there as this makes the thatch all nice and waterproof. You do need to be careful here as dry thatch and fire mix so well that the thatch might go up and you’ll have to start again.

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So, we a have our support posts and a roof all we need are some walls because otherwise things will be a little bit draughty. We turn again the willow weave walls that slots in between the posts we’ve put in. Willow hurdles are still draughty, so we apply a lovely coat of daube. This is a mixture of mud, animal poo and straw and water. It gets slapped on the willow weave and sets to a nice hard crust. Just a nice bit of weave for the door a portable willow weave hurdle of the door and you’ve got yourself a house.

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