One of the most exciting features of the new visitor centre at Stonehenge will be an external gallery, which will include several reconstructed Neolithic houses. Using archaeological evidence and authentic materials, these buildings will provide a real and tangible link for visitors to the distant past. People will be able to walk into these houses and see how people may have lived 4,500 years ago.
Around 60 volunteers from across the country have helped English Heritage to test build three Neolithic houses at Old Sarum in Salisbury, which, in their final form, will be the highlight of the outdoor gallery of the new Stonehenge visitor centre, offering an authentic glimpse of the lifestyle and technology of the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge. Visitors will be able to walk into these houses and see how people may have lived 4,500 years ago.
The archaeological experiment used extremely rare evidence of buildings from Neolithic England, recently unearthed near Stonehenge. The houses have been selected from about 10 that were discovered in 2006 and 2007 by Professor Mike Parker Pearson and the Stonehenge Riverside Project at Durrington Walls.
This large henge monument 3km north-east of Stonehenge is believed to have been the largest Neolithic settlement in north-west Europe. Radiocarbon dates show that these buildings were occupied at around the same time as the sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge, about 2,500 BC.
Volunteers built the houses over nine weeks in spring 2013 and you can see how our volunteers got on or read our blog.
The Next Phase
In spring 2014 the houses will be built at the Stonehenge visitor centre by a team of experienced volunteers and should be open to the public from April 2014.
We are currently recruiting a team of volunteers to look after the houses and tell visitors about them when they are completed. We would like you to share your passion for prehistory with our visitors and help them to learn about the Neolithic lifestyle, skills and technologies. Volunteers will maintain the houses by lighting fires and carrying out repairs and will give demonstrations, talks and tours.
To find out more about the Neolithic House Interpretation Volunteer role, and the other volunteering positions available at Stonehenge, see our Volunteering Opportunities pages. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest volunteering news.