Summer has been busy here at Stanwick Lakes, with projects and events in full swing!
We thoroughly enjoyed launching the Nene Valley Festival on it’s opening weekend, which was a huge success despite the heatwave and the huge Sunday afternoon rain downpour!
It has been a brilliant summer for all our heritage project teams. Our volunteers have spent over 2000 hours on the projects so far, which is an amazing feat and we are extremely proud to be working with such an amazing bunch!
Restoration of the Bronze Age Bowl Barrow
The Bronze Age Round Barrow at Stanwick Lakes is a scheduled monument, and part of our Heritage Lottery funded project includes work to maintain and protect the site so that it stays as a visible part of the landscape here for many more generations to come.
The Barrow has now been fully covered with a protective mesh that will allow the grass and wildflowers to grow through but will protect it from erosion.
The new access path that now encircles the Barrow has proven very popular with the public, offering a different view over the monument. Work will continue on the general maintenance of the hedgerows and area of the Barrow throughout the Autumn, overseen by Pre Develop Archaeology.
Bronze Age Boat Build
It has been all go on the Big Bronze Age Boat Build – our volunteers have so far contributed a whopping 500 hours to the build project alone!
James Dilley of Ancient Craft has been keeping a watchful eye (and an adze or two!) over the build and the group have been sharing brilliant advice and learning between them all.
We now have three very clear boats starting to take shape. Our main log now has a very clear prow section and the team have been working on chipping away at the inside of the boat using replica Bronze Age tools. The walls of the boat will eventually only be about 1 inch thick, so this has to be very careful work. On the burned out boat, the volunteers have been working on various methods to burn out the inside as accurately as possible – helped by generous layering of lake silt to protect the parts that don’t need burning!
The volunteers will continue over the Autumn and winter and we hope that by early 2024 we will have three fully functional replica Bronze Age Boats – make sure to keep up with the project here: www.stanwicklakes.org.uk/big-bronze-age-boat-build
The second roundhouse structure is almost complete, with volunteers now working on the willow roof structure and the settlement fencing. We are extremely lucky to have an abundance of natural resources on site here at Stanwick Lakes, so we are making use of utilising the willow and hazel for this part of the heritage build.
The next stage will be the roof, which will be turfed later this Autumn. This step will finally make the structure weatherproof, meaning that we can keep the roundhouse open for the public to enjoy. We are already thinking about the types of experimental builds and crafts that we can do in this area next year – including the creation of a kiln and a four-post granary structure, linking in to those found on the site during the 1980’s excavations.
John Wills, our resident blacksmith, has been busy starting to create a replica Iron Age “Fire Dog” for the roundhouse – a decorated metal spit that would be placed over the house hearth for cooking.
The team of volunteers have worked extremely hard over the summer and we are extremely grateful for their commitment!
Exploring Iron Age Textiles with the Northants Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
The Northants Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers continue to explore Iron Age textiles, replicating the clothes of Huldremose Woman.
The summer has been all about natural dyeing, with the guild members experimenting with different plants and techniques to get just the right shades for the garments. The heritage barn is now full of beautiful skeins of wool in variety of bold and beautiful colours – it’s safe to say that the Iron Age certainly wasn’t a dull, grey time for clothing!
The madder dyeing for the replica Huldremose Woman shawl is now complete ready to be woven, with this taking part over the Autumn and Winter months.
Our volunteer heritage gardeners have worked their magic over the summer, maintaining all of our heritage garden spaces, which have been very popular with visitors over the holidays! . They have been concentring on the development of the Iron Age garden at the roundhouse, marking out the beds and fencing and getting ready to add the first plants over Autumn.
None of our projects would be possible without the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and of course, our amazing volunteers!