BUTSER ANCIENT FARM ARCHIVE 1973-2007 Archivist Christine Shaw
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The First Site - Little Butser

By 1972, work had been initiated to set up the site on Little Butser, as people now referred to the location. The plan below is taken from the outline in the 1970 proposal and it is contrasted alongside with the plan produced for the first public Open Day in 1974.

The site, activities and the buildings are best brought to life in the following photographs taken from Peter Reynold's first book " Iron Age Farm" - the Butser Experiment, published in 1979 by British Museum Publications Limited.

This picture shows some of the earliest experimental techniques in operation. Two Dexter cattle are being used to pull an ard. It can take up to two years to train a pair matched in size, power and application. This is Jack Langley, Peter's first "right-hand" man.

This overall view of the Little Butser Site shows where the fields, used for keeping and feeding the stock and for cropping, lie in the context of the north facing spur. The Balksbury House, shown below, can be seen in the middle ground.

This dramatic view of the house demonstrates only too vividly the sort of lessons learnt in the early years. It has been found time and again, even following this first experience, that the junction of the porch with the main conical roof is always a compromise between the slope of the thatch on the cone and that on the porch. In this case the porch had far too shallow an angle and this was one factor which led to the failure pictured above, leading to the house being dismantled. Such lessons were vital when the larger Pimperne House was built on the Demonstration Site.

More images of Little Butser site.