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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Those Neolithic houses


This pic was in the press this week -- one of the Neolithic houses being built near the Stonehenge Visitor Centre -- and based, by all accounts, on the remains at Durrington Walls.

I note the rounded corners -- I thought Neolithic houses were rectangular?  

Very interesting -- no doubt more info will emerge.  I really like the ladders, the hard hats and the hi-vis jackets......

Link resource:
Follow their progress here: http://neolithichouses.wordpress.com/
English Heritage Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/discover/neolithic-houses

Follow the project and progress on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/NeolithicHouses

https://twitter.com/Eh_stonehenge

https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

the one's I saw at Durrington looked square to me.
PeteG

Jon Morris said...

Looks as if they are building houses which fit with people's preconception of what a neolithic house should look like rather than building the real thing. There's a number of tells in MPP's book which show what would most likely have been there.

I guess there's noting wrong with having a Disney version providing that it's not being sold as educational.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Oh, I wouldn't be too critical -- seems like a nice exercise to me, based on the best available info. And they are even using twisted willow instead of string or rope. So they are seeking after as much authenticity as possible.

TonyH said...

Neolithic house re-creations were assembled - then hastily dissembled - at Old Sarum hill fort, near Salisbury, within the past year or so. No doubt still on the web. The planning permission ran out! Forget what shape they were.

Anonymous said...

Despite the houses primitive construction I'm sure that there are many people, who would be only too happy to live a long and happy life in such houses!




Whilst waiting for a seat on the train to stonehenge?

A.G.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Agree -- they look rather cosy. I agree that their main purpose is to occupy the howling hordes who are fed up with waiting three hours to get on the famous land train......

TonyH said...

Perhaps what Brian has just called "the famous land train" will, in the future, be fondly remembered as the precursor to the discovery of evidence for the much more significant Glacial Period erratic train, with its cargo of motley geological rocks from SW Wales, etc!......

Following its discovery, those on the archaeologically fantastic Gravy Train may have to take evasive action by leaping out.

Jon Morris said...

Oh, I wouldn't be too critical -- seems like a nice exercise to me, based on the best available info. And they are even using twisted willow instead of string or rope.

Not harsh Brian. What's been found at Durrington indicates a fundamentally different type of construction. If they are being built to demonstrate what the houses at Durrington looked like, the guides will get people from the construction industry pointing out that what's been built doesn't correspond with the best available evidence.

Still.. not sure what the demos are being sold as. If not educational, they'll get very little comment.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Interesting, Jon. Can you enlighten us further? So how do they justify the precise techniques and design being used on these reconstructions? Surely the whole programme must be based on something solid?

Jon Morris said...

I have no idea what the purpose of building the houses is Brian. Stonehenge's lintels demonstrate a knowledge of timber joinery: If you have a knowledge of joinery then you can construct houses with less effort and fewer materials using braces. To get the best result, your houses would end up being rectangular rather than having rounded edges. The floorplates at Durrington appear to be rectangular.

By contrast, rounded edges are needed for the type of construction which appears to have been used at the visitor's centre.

Interesting exercise though.

TonyH said...

Maev Kennedy in The Guardian's report on these Visitor Centre houses says they are, in fact, rectangular.

So I guess we have all been fooled by the angle at which the photo on this Post has been taken.

People can easily check this out via Google if still in any doubt.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah -- if it's in the Guardian, then it must be true........

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Jon: ”Stonehenge's lintels demonstrate a knowledge of timber joinery: If you have a knowledge of joinery then you can construct houses with less effort and fewer materials using braces. To get the best result, your houses would end up being rectangular rather than having rounded edges.”

Jon raises an interesting point here. If 'joinery' technology was known in the Neolithic there should be other evidence of its use besides at Stonehenge.

Kostas

Jon Morris said...

Maev Kennedy in The Guardian's report on these Visitor Centre houses says they are, in fact, rectangular.

With rounded edges. There's another significant conflict between what has been built and the archaeological reports. Not sure I have the time to explain this one though and there will be plenty of others who will spot it (anyone who works in the construction industry basically). Very short of time at the moment and without going along to see what they've done, I don't feel it's fair to criticise in this sort of detail.

TonyH said...



Q: When is a Round House not a Round House?

A: When it's a 21st Century Anno Domini revamped 'Cobbled-Up' version? ( N.B. no criticism intended, in jest only)