The planning department of Dumfries and Galloway Council will have a unique planning application to consider this week after The Whithorn Trust submitted plans to build an iron age roundhouse in Whithorn.
If approved, the project will see the compete reconstruction of the roundhouse in the Glebe Field, off Bruce Street, exactly as it would have looked in back the 5th Century.
Julia Muir Watt, from The Whithorn Trust, said: “The Trust is very excited by this project and all that it promises for future developments: this is the most ambitious project for our outdoor site in decades and one of the most ambitious public archaeology projects in Scotland. Everything about it is big: the roundhouse itself is over 13 metres across and would have housed an extended family group; it was discovered at the largest lochside village of the Iron Age period so far unearthed in Scotland. Not least, we have to protect existing archaeology on our own site, so the complexity of the engineering and design are also huge challenges.
“We’re aiming to use it for family-friendly tours, storytelling, for a prehistoric classroom, and also for hands-on workshops in ancient crafts, for artists to exhibit and offer participatory classes, and as a venue for performance.
“It’s well established that reconstruction buildings are popular with the public, are valuable research tools when investigating the techniques and architecture of our Celtic ancestors, and can act to create economic benefit to the surrounding community. We’re looking for lots of people of all ages to get involved with different aspects of the project, and we’d like community groups to put their own seal upon the building by weaving us a wattle panel to be installed within the inner post ring of the roundhouse. Get in touch with us to let us know you’d like your group or school to put its mark on ancient history and we’ll provide materials and training for wattle weaving - 01988 500508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The ambitious project to build a roundhouse was sparked after AOC Archeology discovered an iron age settlement near the Black Loch of Myrton last year. When the Iron Age house, dating to about the mid 400’s BC, was uncovered by the archaeologists and volunteers, they found evidence of a hearth, flooring and structural timbers. This evidence will now be used by craftsmen and volunteers to build a complete replica, to be used as a prehistoric education resource, arts venue and to provide a unique visitor experience.
In January The Whithorn Trust secured £87,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding for the roundhouse project.