Batchwood School: Make Everyday Count

Gallery: Trip to Celtic Harmony Iron Age Heritage Centre

Students visited the Iron age Heritage Centre to have a look both at some completed roundhouses, and at some that are in various stages of completion as they are being built for next season.

A round house is the traditional pre-roman building throughout the British isles, built of local materials which in some cases might be rock such as at Skara Brae in Orkeny but more of ten out of wood, reed, wattle and daub. An Oak tree was traditionally used as the central support with woven hazel used to creat the walls. This was woven around a ring of stakes driven into the ground then covered with Daub, a mix of straw mud and animal dung.

Students learned how the large timber were stripped of bark to increase their rot resistance, and got to try reeving the timbers ( splitting lengthways along the grain, the way long timbers were produced before saw mills were invented, and the way a lot of traditional wood workers still process wood today e.g. bowyers.

Students split 6 foot timbers using splitting wedges to extend a split along the length of the log to halve it, and these halves were then split again to provide vertical stakes for the walls.

We were then able to see a ring partially completed wall with a ring of stakes driven into the ground and the hazel weave in place. Having seen this the students then had a go at the hazel weaving for themselves, under the watchful eye of the director of the |Heritage Centre.

Students then got the chance to find out how it felt to bear a shield and spear, and wear an iron age warriors helmet. All agreed the shield was too heavy for modern people to carry all day, let alone fight with.