Historic Timber Frame Roundhouse Reconstruction with Ty Pren
What Was The Brief?
This roundhouse was designed by archaeologists specialising in the Iron Age. They wanted to recreate an authentic Iron Age Roundhouse so that visitors to Castell Henllys could envisage domestic life in the period. The building was to be constructed out of Oak- in keeping with the Iron Age materials available.
How Was Our Design?
The building was pretty massive. Eleven metres in diameter and seven point two metres tall- as large a modern day house. An oak henge provided the building’s structural support.
What Were The Project Challenges?
The primary challenge on this project was that very few of these buildings have been constructed like this since the Iron Age, so the Ty Pren team needed to learn, adapt, and innovate. One unforeseen difficulty was sourcing oak trees large enough- while large mature oak was abundant in the iron age it is far less common in this day and age- and even less common in a timber forestry setting. We eventually found oak trees large enough to fabricate the henge however. Once the building was complete building control had to declare it safe according to modern standards. We worked in partnership with them to come up with a solution. While it was not at all necessary from a structural perspective building control wanted a fail safe to be certain the building would never collapse- in case of collision or rapid subsidence. So we fitted modern metal fixings to keep the key joints together. These were disguised with hessian ties to keep the building as authentic as possible. National Park volunteers provided much of the labour to finish the building- after Ty Pren completed the oak henge frame. A local thatcher then came in to finish the roof. The overall results are incredibly authentic.
What did our clients think?
Pembrokeshire National Park were delighted with our results. You can see the blacksmiths and meeting house that we constructed on the video below. The buildings look amazing and are a great centerpiece of the museum. Visitor numbers have been huge- and a Youtube video about the project has been viewed over nine hundred thousand times. Ty Pren also won a project from a nearby resident to construct a smaller more modern roundwood building, as they loved our handiwork and work ethic. Ty Pren are so proud to be associated with this important archaeological project.