9th Experimental Archaeology Conference abstract – Warren and Murphy

“buildingmesolithic”: recent experimental reconstructions of Mesolithic houses in Ireland

Graeme Warren and John Murphy

University College Dublin

This paper reviews two recent experimental archaeological reconstructions of Mesolithic houses in Ireland. Both houses were based closely on the ground plan of the first known Mesolithic site in Ireland, Mt Sandel, excavated by Prof. Peter Woodman (Woodman 1985) and dating to shortly after 8000 cal BC. Since Woodman’s excavation, more Mesolithic houses of the same era have been identified in northern Britain and reconstructions of these buildings have been robust, with heavy turf roofing (Waddington 2007). The two builds (one in summer 2013, one in summer 2014) set out to test specific hypotheses about the nature of the structure and the roofing used. We also assessed the range and diversity of materials required, labour requirements etc. The projects were both used for outreach, including social media and TV/newspaper and a short film was made in conjunction with students from the Institute of Art Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire. Our paper will review the scientific findings, outline ongoing experiments and reflect on the media interest in our project.

Waddington, C. (Ed.) 2007 Mesolithic Settlement in the North Sea Basin: a case study from Howick, North-East England, Oxbow Books, Oxford

Woodman, P.C., 1985. Excavations at Mount Sandel 1973-77, County Londonderry, HMSO, Belfast

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