The clock has been turned back 5,000 years at Stonehenge after volunteers used ancient building techniques to reconstruct the sort of homes the builders of the ancient monument would have lived in. Five Neolithic buildings have been constructed next to the new visitor centre at Airmen’s Corner and their footprints exactly match what was left of homes excavated at Durrington Walls, just a couple of miles away.
Experts trying to fathom what the homes would have looked like said it was like working out what someone looked like from being left a pair of their shoes, but the archaeologists and volunteers have made an attempt and built homes from sticks, mud and thatch. They are halfway through the build now and weaving hundreds of hazel rods through the main supporting stakes, thatching roofs with hand-knotted wheat straw and covering the walls with a daub of chalk, straw and water.
The team made a first practice attempt at Old Sarum, and the three homes they created became a visitor attraction in their own right. When the Stonehenge ones are completed in a few weeks, they will be furnished with replica Neolithic artefacts, lit with fires and contain real-life Neolithic people – volunteers to demonstrate the daily activities of our ancestors.
The homes will also have to withstand the poking and prodding from a million visitors a year.