Durrington Walls 2006
this link to see 2007 page.
The English Heritage guided Stonehenge Environment
Project, included a living history display and demonstrations, together
with access to several of the ongoing archeaological digs being done in
The Age of Bronze is a Society which experiments
with the Living History of the Bronze Age, showing and explaining the
life to the Public.
They appeared in 2006 at Durrington Walls,
very near Woodhenge and not far from Stonehenge, over the late August
Bank Holiday weekend and the 9th & 10th September 2006.
This is a huge henge site, being excavated by
teams of archaeologists from several universities as part of a larger
Stonehenge Environment Project, they have found a "very interesting"
square structure of Neolithic date, which should increase our understanding
of very early construction.
For information about the Project take a look
at the 2005 report :-
The site was visited by the Time Team a couple
of years ago. An important prehistoric ceremonial route has been found
from the adjacent river Avon to Stonehenge. Certainly the whole feature
has the feel of an amptheatre, with a massive chalk wall around a rising
Evidence of feasting has been found, so this was
probably the location of the catering concessions, with young pigs being
a house speciality!
It is famous for "Grooved Ware" a late
Neolithic/early Bronze Age style of pottery - with decorations consisting
of (you guessed it!) grooves.
The Age of Bronze activities included the construction
of a dwelling, artifact displays, food preparation, cooking (feasting!)
find out more about the Age of Bronze follow this link.
Bill Crumbleholme demonstrated making pottery
and wife Diane (now elevated to role of Chief Stoker) looked after the
bonfire firing. Set out below are some images of the firing and pottery
from the two weekends in 2006.
"Day One!" Four urns are being gently heated
Diane tending the fire
The current archaeological trenches are behind in the bottom of the valley
Four hours later the fire has been built up over the pots
One of the urns roasting
The fire starts to burn down, revealing the urns. The fairly high wind
starts to cool the exposed rims and this leads to some cracking as they
shrink, while the part still in the embers stays hot.
an all purpose "Cooking Pot"
a collared urn
a "hybrid" urn
"Day Two" - the slow burn starts again
Woodhenge is on the skyline in the middle
A different fuel - charcoal packed around the pots - after pre-heating,
but before the mass of timber
An urn with three quarters of a collar - faulty manufacture or damage
A beaker inspired by those found with the Amesbury Archer, a couple of
miles down the road.
Conclusions :: The conditions were
not good for firing, the high wind made controlling the rate of burning
difficult and tended to cool off the exposed pottery, leading to some
The visiting public were very enthusiastic and interested in the techniques,
the authenticity of the potters clothing was not questioned too closely
and their newly made sheepskin boots were very comfortable and did not
burst into flames near the fire!
The passing archaelogists were kind about the experimentation and the
pottery on display.
9th-10th September 2006
"Day One" Diane doing the Dance of Gentle Fire
The Pots are looking scorched after 4 hours preheating
The crowds gather to watch the flames and listen to Diane explain
Now for the serious Living History! At last a good use for those urns!
Thanks to Cranborne
Stores for the Pig Products
Last Day - Inspection Time!
The Last Urn - the one that made it all worth while!
Conclusion of second weekend :-
The firing went fairly well to start with, but on fueling up several of
the bases spalled, perhaps they had not been preheated enough as the space
left in the middle of the ring of pots was not very big, so the fire was
The cooling problem still gave rise to a couple of small cracks in rims
- but the Stoker says that was just bad manufacture! The Jury is out on
that one. Maybe next time we will put some shards over the rims to protect
The Living History Feast on Saturday
marked Bill's Birthday in excellent style.
The passing public and archaeologists
were very encouraging and purchased quite a few pots as reminders of their
Phil Harding was demonstrating flint knapping near by which brought in
the crowds and also provided us with a source of flint waste for use as
inclusions in a future batch of clay.