Anglo-Saxon skills in action

Anglo-Saxon Hall World Heritage


If you have visited the Avalon Marshes Centre recently you may have noticed ever growing stacks of shaped oak beams. These are the timbers for a second replica building, an Anglo-Saxon long hall. In recent months South West Heritage Trust staff, Hands on Heritage volunteers and the Carpenters Fellowship have been hard at work creating this kit of parts and getting the site ready. This week the really exciting bit is underway, the commencement of erection of the hall.
Unlike the Romans who used stone and mortar for building construction, the Anglo Saxons used timber for most of their buildings. The Anglo Saxons would have felled the trees using iron axes, split the logs with wooden wedges and mallets, and then hewn and worked the wood while it was ‘green’, meaning unseasoned.
The Carpenters Fellowship took away oak logs earlier this year and returned them as beautifully prepared timbers ready to assemble as the framework of the hall. The joints are all individually labelled as they have been cut to fit precisely together; they are then secured using wooden pegs. Meanwhile the volunteers have been receiving practical training on parts of the “kit” from the Fellowship. At the same time South West Heritage Trust staff have been working hard to construct the foundations.

This exciting project has been made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, through the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership, and a lot of hard graft by South West Heritage Trust staff and volunteers.  When completed the Anglo-Saxon long hall and the Romano-British replica building, which is also under construction, will provide an important educational and visitor resource at the Avalon Marshes Centre.

Regular updates appear on the Avalon Marshes Facebook page. There are more photos and regular updates on the Avalon Archaeology blog.

To find out more about ancient timber work techniques follow this link to Riven Oak’s website.

Artist’s impression of completed building

Anglo-Saxon Hall Artist Impression

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