Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Over on Gabriele's blog, she has posted a reconstruction of a very neat 'pit house' from Tilleda in Germany. We call these 'Grubenhaus' in the UK! They also get called SFBs, which stands for Sunken Featured Buildings. There is evidence that some of them had their pits boarded over, so in effect the pits were cellars, and the created floor could be used for something else. There are lots of theories as to how these building were used, but they are generally taken to be markers of 'Anglo-Saxon' occupation dating from the 5th-6th century in Britain (often the east of England).

The UK also has some experiemental reconstructions of these buildings, including the one at Bede's World, which is very deep, and damp. Certainly woudn't have like to sleep in that one, and I rather think it demands a boarded floor to create a cellar. Then there is West Stow, in Suffolk. I actually don't remember much about this one, though we did a show there! However, our tents were somewhat remote from the buildings, and the buildings were being occupied by another group.

Having a nosey on the Tilleda Museum web pages, I note that they've even got mortar mixers! Brings back memories of digging in Northampton in my early archaeological career; Northampton is one of the few places in England to have evidence of Anglo-Saxon mortar mixers, which are dated to around the 8th-9th centuries. I managed to find evidence of an Anglo-Saxon hall; it was a ruddy great stone in a ruddy great post pit - my supervisor said I should take the stone out, but it just became rather substantial, and then we found other massive pits! Anyway, I'd definitely like to see this German site, when I visit the Continent again.


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