Stonehenge life-sized Neolithic homes to be built

A contract to build three life-sized Neolithic homes at Stonehenge in Wiltshire has been put out to tender.

The 5,000-year-old Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England, shown here bathed in pastel twilight, has been examined by scientists for centuries. And though our understanding of the structure has increased greatly, particularly in recent years, questions persist about who built Stonehenge and why [Credit: National Geographic]
English Heritage is inviting contractors to bid for the £60,000 project, which is part of a £27m scheme to improve the setting of the monument.

Using authentic materials, the prehistoric homes will be based on those excavated at Durrington Walls.

English Heritage said the buildings will provide a "real and tangible link for visitors to the distant past".

The £27m scheme to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the ancient monument, was begun in July.

But a "key aim" for the new centre is to create "a sense of prehistoric people using, working and living in the landscape", an English Heritage spokesperson said.

'Interactive and experimental'

The recreated Neolithic buildings will form part of an "interactive and experiential" external exhibition at the 3,500-year-old World Heritage site which receives more than one million visitors a year.

"Visitors will be able to walk into these houses, see how people may have lived 4,500 years ago and experience something of the lifestyle of the builders who constructed Stonehenge," the spokesperson said.

An aerial view shows excavations of a cluster of homes in the ancient English village of Durrington Walls. Archaeologists think the Neolithic settlement may have been connected with nearby Stonehenge as part of a large religious complex. The houses being excavated may have even been occupied by some of the builders of Stonehenge [Credit: National Geographic]
The prehistoric homes will be based on the foundations of dwellings discovered at Durrington Walls in 2007.

The large settlement, dating back to 2600-2500 BC, was discovered under earthworks 3km (2 miles) from the stone circle.

'Learning project'

"We've had about 15 to 20 contractors - mainly architects, traditional builders and civil engineers - respond," said Robert Campbell from English Heritage.

"But it's a learning project - the contractor will be working with volunteers, using Neolithic building techniques and materials which hopefully will have been collected from the local area.

"It's a fantastic learning experience - but quite a commitment."

A prototype Neolithic house will be erected at Old Sarum in early 2013 with the new visitor centre at Stonehenge due to open in Autumn 2013.

Source: BBC News Website [October 02, 2012]

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1 comments for Stonehenge life-sized Neolithic homes to be built

  1. 5,000 years old, 3,500 years old, 4,500 years ago ... make your mind up!

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