Saturday, 8 December 2012

New External Gallery at Stonehenge. Neolithic Houses Project

One of the most exciting features of the new visitor centre will be an external gallery which will include three reconstructed Neolithic houses. Using archaeological evidence and authentic materials, these buildings will provide a real and tangible link for visitors to the distant past. People will be able to walk into these houses and see how people may have lived 4,500 years ago.
Graphic of reconstructed Neolithic houses at Stonehenge
During excavations at Durrington Walls in 2006-7, something quite extraordinary was discovered – prehistoric houses dating to 4500 years ago. Recent radiocarbon dating has shown these houses were inhabited in around 2,500 BC; exactly the time sarsen stones were being erected nearby at Stonehenge.
The closeness of the dates raises the distinct possibility that the people who occupied the seasonal settlement at Durrington were involved in the construction of the sarsen stone settings and in celebrations at Stonehenge.
Using traditional and locally sourced building materials and following the archaeological findings from Durrington Walls, we plan to recreate three Neolithic houses.
We will attempt to answer questions such as:
  • What did the roof look like?
  • What is the best ‘recipe’ for making a hard chalk floor?
  • What was it like to be inside these houses?
This is an experimental archaeology project.

Neolithic House Builders (Phase 1)

A reconstruction of a Neolithic house
Be part of an archaeological experiment and help us present the story of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Using traditional building methods and locally sourced materials, you will help recreate a Neolithic house based on archaeological findings.


Old Sarum
Castle Road

Role Description

Key Tasks

Depending on which stage of the house building project you are part of there will be the following tasks:
  • Stage 1 - Preparing hazel for wattling, making rope withies for securing roof and stakes, gathering materials
  • Stage 2 - Setting out stakes, hazel wattling, preparing chalk cob, cob wall construction
  • Stage 3 - Thatching, laying chalk floor, helping to make furniture and dressing house

Hours and Time Frame

It is planned that the project will run from Tuesday to Saturday during March to May 2013. We are looking for volunteers to commit to at least five days volunteering across the project. Inductions will be held each Tuesday morning and we would require all volunteers to attend an induction session on their first day of volunteering.

Skills and Qualities

  • An interest in working in the historic environment
  • An interest in working outdoors
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Ability to undertake physical work for a period of time
  • To be flexible and enthusiastic
  • To communicate effectively with other members of the team

Support and Training

Full training will be provided by English Heritage and it will include:
  • Induction with team leader
  • Training on construction methods and using tools
  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment

What English Heritage Expects from Volunteers

Volunteers should:
  • Maintain good working relationships with staff, other volunteers and members of the public
  • Attend appropriate training and learn about the work of English Heritage
  • Be reliable in attendance
  • Observe organisational policy and procedures
  • Protect English Heritage property from theft, damage or loss, within the limit of their responsibilities
  • Safeguard confidential information about English Heritage and refer any controversial matters relating to the work of English Heritage to their manager

Other Information

  • Volunteers may be reimbursed for travel costs between home and volunteering location within agreed limits
  • A volunteer pass allowing free access to English Heritage sites is available after a satisfactory period of 4 months and the completion of 60 hours of service
  • A certificate for your personal profile to demonstrate work carried out for English Heritage to show future employers or further education establishments

How to apply

To register your interest see how to apply.


Stonehenge Tour Guide

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