Old Sarum project sees Neolithic huts built

Three Neolithic huts completed at Old Sarum, Wiltshire The aim is to build these Neolithic huts at the Stonehenge visitor centre, next year

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Three Neolithic-style huts have been built at Old Sarum to offer an insight into how Stonehenge's builders lived.

The huts, made of chalk and straw daub and wheat-thatched roofing, have been based on archaeological remains found at Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge.

Project leader Luke Winter said: "What we're trying to do is get a sense of what these buildings looked like above-ground."

The hope is to re-build the huts at Stonehenge visitor centre next year.

"What makes the buildings interesting is that they were dated to about the same time as the large sarsen stones were being erected at Stonehenge," Mr Winter said.

"One of the theories is that these may have housed the people that were helping with construction of that monument."

Inside, the project team has used a variety of different daubs, made of pig soil [dung] or chalk and straw and construction techniques that would have been used by Neolithic people.

"We've been trying a completely different way of thatching a roof. Nothing is tied onto the roof, as you would in a modern thatched building but the wheat straw that we've used is knotted and then tucked into a woven framework.

"Often people think 4,500 years ago is a long time ago, which of course to us as modern people it is, but it's well into beginnings of agriculture.

"We're looking at people that were farming, keeping cows and domesticating cereal crops, and of course houses were an important thing."

The Neolithic huts will be kept for another two months and will open to the public during the two May bank holidays.

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