Invasion at the Avalon Marshes Centre

Children dressed as Romans

The South West Heritage Trust’s historic replica buildings have seen lots of action since our last update, including their first public open days and group visits. The scaffolding from the outside of the Romano-British dining room has been removed and the box flue tiles put in place completing the hypocaust. The Anglo Saxon longhall shingle roofing continues and another stained glass window has been added; there is proof that coloured glass was made at Glastonbury Abbey during the Saxon period. The design for this glass is based on one from Jarrow, and the decorative lead strip on evidence from Jarrow’s twin foundation – Monkwearmouth.

Reproduction Romano British box flues, Anglo Saxon Glass, Anglo Saxon Roof Shingles.

The Avalon Marshes Young Wardens joined the Hands on Heritage volunteers on Wednesday June 1st.  They began by laying some of the course aggregate that makes the  floor-base for the Anglo Saxon longhall. The group also washed finds from the recent archaeological excavation at Beckery Chapel and then continued works on the fireplace.

Young Wardens working on the reproduction buildings at the Avalon Marshes.

On Sunday June 5th, at the Avalon Marshes open day, the buildings were bought to life.  There were re-enactors from a Viking living history (acting as Saxons), guided tours and Hands on Heritage volunteers demonstrating traditional woodworking skills.  This proved a huge hit with the 300 or so visitors we had that day and shows the potential of the buildings as a key element of the Avalon Marshes Centre in years to come.

Demonstrations and living history at the Avalon Marshes day.

The following Saturday on the 11th June our buildings were invaded by MAYA (Mick Astons Young Archaeologists Somerset), who spent the morning making pots and casting pewter. In the afternoon they split into factions and fought small battles as Celts and Romans.  You can see one of the epic battles on our YouTube page – Avalon Marshes YouTube

Mick Aston’s Young Archaeologists getting their Hands on Heritage.

Tuesday 15th June was a ground breaking day too. Not only did our first official school group visit but the hypocaust was lit for the first time. The images show that the box flues are drawing well and by the end of the day the floor of the Romano British dining room had reached a toasty warm 40°C.

The replica buildings have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership.

The Romano British building hypocaust when lit with smoke drawing through the box flue tiles.
The Romano British building hypocaust when lit with smoke drawing through the box flue tiles.


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