UCD volunteers build Stone Age dwelling

Thursday 25 July 2013 22.08
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The structure is six metres in diameter and seven metres tall
The structure is six metres in diameter and seven metres tall
The UCD group plans to carry out further experiments by building a number of other structures on the same site
The UCD group plans to carry out further experiments by building a number of other structures on the same site

A team of volunteers from the School of Archaeology at UCD have built a Mesolithic dwelling, largely using Stone Age technologies and materials.

The project - based closely on archaeological data from Mount Sandel in Co Derry - aims to cast new light on how such structures were built in the centuries following 8000 BC.

The UCD structure is six metres in diameter and seven metres tall.

It has been built from a number of birch posts, which go up to form an apex, with willow sticks weaved between them.

Turf has been laid across the roof.

The team believe structures like this, which can be found across Europe, raise many important questions about the nature of Mesolithic life.

"For example - structures like this are generally interpreted as houses, and they are often reconstructed repeatedly on the same location over the span of 100-150 years” explains Dr Graeme Warren of UCD's school of archaeology.

“The large size and clear permanence of these buildings is a challenge to many of our ideas of Mesolithic settlement which have tended to stress that people were highly mobile and characterised by little in the way of permanent architecture."

"Such questions can be approached through the techniques of experimental archaeology, which involves the creation of objects, buildings, activities and contexts, through which ideas about people's lives in the past can be thought about in practical terms."

The structure, in a corner of the UCD campus, will be left to decay to allow researchers to estimate how long such buildings lasted before the early settlers decided to rebuild or move on.

The UCD group plans to carry out further experiments by building a number of other structures on the same site.