Mud, sweat and cob


A big day on any building project is when the structure emerges from the ground. Lots of work goes into foundations, underground services and the ground floor but little can be seen. The same is true of the Avalon Marshes Centre’s replica Romano British building. But today this all started to change; South West Heritage Trust volunteers, staff and a big machine mixed sub-soil, stone and straw to start the construction of the “Cob” walls, all in heavy summer rain!

The construction is all part of the Heritage Lottery funded Hands on Heritage project at the Avalon Marshes Centre. The cob is laid directly, rather than being formed into bricks, and is then beaten down to form the walls. There is then a gap in time to allow the material to dry out and harden before the next section is raised. Over the next few weeks the team will be back to raise the walls still further.

The completed building will be used as an educational resource and will form part of an improved Avalon Marshes Centre. It will have a working hypocaust, a mosaic floor and will reflect the history of the Roman presence just up the road in Shapwick. It even has raw materials recovered from a real Roman villa at Cannington. The remains of this villa was on the route of the new bypass, it was recorded and carefully dismantled.

Preparing the foundations for Romano Building

Getting ready

foundations stamped by volunteers     render of final Romano Building

Mixed by machine stamped by volunteers      What the final building will look like

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