Replica roundhouse built on Arran

Volunteers from Arran and the mainland came together to help build a replica Bronze Age roundhouse in Brodick Country Park.

In just six days the volunteers, achieved an incredible amount and were able to assemble the wooden skeleton of a roundhouse, which was once a common type of dwelling across what is now Scotland over 4,000 years ago.

The roundhouse, located on the park’s Wilma’s Walk, is part of the Arran Archaeology Project, a two year joint venture between Arran Arts Resource and the National Trust for Scotland Ranger Service. The project gives local school children the opportunity to explore some of the island’s archaeological sites.

To create a lasting legacy for the project, and to engage in some experimental archaeology to rediscover lost building techniques, Rangers decided to construct the replica roundhouse and invite people of all ages and backgrounds to join them.

The roundhouse is designed to be as authentic as possible, despite having to conform to modern building regulations. It is based on an Early Bronze Age hut circle excavated at Tor Righ on the west coast of Arran.

The structure consists of two rings of timber posts, each of which is joined by lintels. Wooden rafters were pegged and tied to the lintels to form a conical roof. Most of the timbers were gathered locally over the winter and wood was also donated by the Forestry Commission.

The next stage of construction will be to thatch the roof with reeds and a master thatcher will in mid-September teach this dying art to another group of volunteers. The final stage will be to erect wattle panels covered in daub and surrounded by an earth and stone mound as suggested by archaeological evidence.

The completed roundhouse will be used by Country Park Rangers for educational purposes.

In thanking all of the volunteers who helped, Corinna Goeckeritz, NTS Range and Naturalist said: “Building the roundhouse has been quite an eye opener for us as to what an enormous effort it must have been back in the Bronze Age.

“We have been using modern tools, including diggers and chainsaws, and it was still quite an undertaking. It must have been a real community effort and would have taken our ancestors a lot of time and forward planning to gather all of the necessary materials.”

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