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Holiday and Winter Let Accommodation
Iron Age Settlement

Building a Roundhouse Deutsch  

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One of the large roundhouses on which the reconstruction is based. Traces of two earlier houses lie underneath.
Cutting reeds on Marazion Marsh. The roof was to consume about 2 acres of reed and cutting them by hand was the longest job of all.
Searching for oak at Idless with woodsman Bill Robinson

Newly cut ash poles from Trelowarren with bark removed
Marking and preparing the circle
50 year old Fordson Major working hard

Bringing in granite from around the farm - these rocks are left lying around after being dug from the fields by generations of farmers. One of the features of the prehistoric farm is 'clearance mounds' of rock.
These rocks are heavy and the ground wet.
Some rocks must weigh 2 tons. Granite is said to be one cwt per cubic foot. They must have had a good team 2,200 years ago. That's one advantage of tribal living.
Showing rafters, resting on oak wall plate pegged to form a continuous ring and near the top on a ring beam in the form of a double hexagon. This was supported by six posts. We worked out this 3D jigsaw puzzle as we went along.
Lashing on hazel laths, this and searching for hazel was another long job. There are no longer any stands of coppiced hazel here. The cord used for lashing is Marlin line from Newlyn Harbour and is the only material that was brought in and not of local origin.
The oak lintel spanning the doorway completes the ring of the wall beam. The cone of the roof is stable even without the massive granite walls. On 'up country' experimental roundhouses like Butser and Castel Henllys this ring beam sits on thin walls of wattle and daub.
Caulking the walls with rab (local sub soil) mixed with lime. The bottom outer ring is of holly and designed to elevate the bottom ring of thatch
Knot tying volunteers. Note the double hex ring beam which, according to a visiting academic (Steve Townend) who was surveying all of the many roundhouse reconstructions, is unique.
Thatch is battened on by sewing the hazel 'sways' to the inside hazel laths. Our first ever attempt at thatching - like the rest of the job it is learn as you go. Note internal roof braces near the top inside.
Profiling the reed with a homemade 'leggat'. Sewing needle is at top right.

Cosmopolitan volunteers from as far as New Zealand and Uganda.

End of the summer and we are out of reed. We will have to wait for winter before more can be cut.
January 2001 more reeds cut in the marshes with much effort, as they were underwater in that wettest ever winter. The thatching is getting hard now as I'm short of labour, it's a long way up and I've reached the top of my longest ladder.
Nearly finished
Finished. Time now to build the furniture
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Bodrifty Farm, Newmill, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 8XT, UK | Tel: UK (0044) 1736-361217