Butser Ancient Farm

Principal Christine Shaw

The pictorial history of the roundhouses over the years

The Great Roundhouse is modelled on an excavation by Dr Sonia Hawkes at Longbridge Deverill Cowdown in Wiltshire UK. The house is 15 metres in diameter with a floor area of 176 square meteres. The picture below shows it after first being built at the Bascomb site.

Over the years the house deteriorated due to weathering. The porch suffered extreme wind damage in the winter of 2001 and much of it has been taken down, to allow reconstruction. The thatch also deteriorated, as a result of three successive wet winters and inadequate drying out in the following summers. The next picture shows it when major repairs became necessary.

Following a successful appeal and other fund raising measures, the Great Round House has been restored to its former glory.

Great Roundhouse

The smaller roundhouse shown below is our first version of a house based upon an excavation at Moel y Gerddi in Wales. Over the years, since 1992/3, this house also deteriorated, to the point where a complete rebuild was also embarked upon.

The next picture shows it after a total rebuild using a limited part of the frame and rafters.

This rebuild was followed by the adoption of a new philosophy on its interior decoration.


The two small roundhouses that follow are based on excavations at Glastonbury and there is some evidence that they may have been used to house animals, probably during the winters.

Glastonbury roundhouses

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Created 18 January 2002 - Updated 13 April 2003