Butser Ancient Farm Project

Consultant Christine Shaw

Main Areas of Experiment and Research

In reality, the whole of each successive embodiment of the Ancient Farm has been as an open-air laboratory where experiments into most aspects of life, mostly before the written record, were conducted. The basic evidence is the archaeological remains, ditches and banks, postholes, pits, pottery, pollen, carbonised organic material - all those things that have survived 2000 years or more. In this Project, the theories and ideas of the archaeologists who dug up the evidence have been tested by full-scale experimentation.

Since the death of the Director, Dr Peter Reynolds, his personal programmes have ended. The Earthworks programme continues, with a smaller scale survey, as circumstances offer, and the three principal sites survive. Some of the programmes from Butser are paralleled and extended at "out-stations", several of them overseas. Work at some of those outstations continues under the control of local researchers. Support to L'Esquerda in Spain continued to 2014. Many of the long-term programmes benefited from getting contrasting results in different environments. Details of these other programmes are included in the sections which follow.

The various sites are still used by researchers from UK Universities and their students.

"The Nature of Experiment in Archaeology" was Peter Reynolds' last published exposition of the rationale behind his research. A definitive list of all his known published works is on this Website.

You can navigate the research work by clicking the shadowed boxes in the flowchart below :


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Created 01 August 2001 - Updated 21 April 2014