Roof Structures

The Neolithic houses at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre are starting to get their roofs put on. They need to be good and strong to survive the worst that the weather can throw at them on Salisbury Plain. But fortunately we have the examples that were built and used at Durrington Walls over four thousand five hundred years ago to guide their construction.

Stonehenge Neolithic Houses

Houses 1 and 2 are really taking shape. We have started weaving hundreds of hazel rods through the rafters to form strong curving roof profiles. Each rafter has to be carefully controlled to ensure they curve correctly and provide the strength required to take the weight of thatch. The buildings begin to look like huge loaves of bread!

The junction between walls and roof. The junction between walls and roof.

Meanwhile, the epic task of knotting thousands of wheat straw bundles has begun. These knots will be squeezed between the woven fabric of the roof to provide a lightweight but weatherproof covering. The weather this week has enabled good progress by the volunteers and we seem to have missed the worst of the heavy rain!

The roof being woven. The roof being woven.

The roof is taking shape. The roof is taking shape.

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About Dr Nick

Dr Nick Snashall is Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. She is fascinated by prehistoric stones, large and small, and their potential for unlocking the secrets of our past. Nick is co-director of Living with Monuments (an AHRC funded research project aiming to address our lack of knowledge of Neolithic settlement and non-monumental activity through targetted fieldwork and archival research into the Avebury region) and Ground -Truthing Stonehenge’s ‘Superhenge’: excavations at Durrington Walls (Current Archaeology's 2017 Research Project of the Year)

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