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Celtic Roundhouse

Date Started - 05/25/2008
Estimated Completion Date - Summer 2011

This roundhouse is based heavily on extant sources found at Deer Park Farms, Ireland. (Photos of remains)

One unique feature of this structure is the "double wattle" walls. There is no evidence of daub being used, instead the gap between the inner and outer wattle was filled with organic materials such as leaves and hay. This feature made this design particularly attractive to us for a couple of reasons. First, daub is a very fragile material in our northeastern US climate because of the frequent and wide ranging "freeze-thaw" cycles that we have in the spring and fall. Second, our local resource for clay is 1/4 - 1/2 mile from the roundhouse site and that would have meant many, many trips.

The roundhouse will measure 20 ft in diameter with a 15 ft high roof point. This will give a roof angle of roughly 40deg, which is nearly the minimum pitch for a thatched roof.

Finally, some of the additional structures (outhouse, pottery kiln, smelter, woodworking shelter/lean-to) will be built neaby at the same time roundhouse construction is underway. The purpose for this is threefold. First, as land is cleared for these structures the wood and brush can be used in the roundhouse construction. Second, general use of the site will help keep the woods from re-encroaching areas already worked. Third, the outhouse and woodworking shelter will aid in the productivity of the construction.

Two sun bleached limbs mark the "trail" out of the field and into the hedgerow. The roundhouse will be built in the hedgerow. (May, 2008)

A small stone cairn was laid in fall of 2007 when the area was scouted. This cairn marks the center of the roundhouse. (May, 2008)

Casey and Samantha (left) use a bow saw to cut up the small tree while their mom (Amy) lends a stabilizing hand. (May, 2008)

The trail is finally roughed out. Continued use will help keep it clear and packed. (May, 2008)

Looking up the same trail as the photo above. (March, 2009)

Just a short distance away a new stone oven has been installed. (March, 2009)

After an early December 2008 ice storm severely damaged several trees in the vicinity we decided they needed to be taken down.

Here, Casey splits the main trunk with wedges. (April, 2009)

Stacking the uprights on two smaller logs, keeps the wood off the ground greatly decreasing the chance for premature rotting. (July, 2009)

Saplings are set aside to be used in the creation of wattling later on. (July, 2009)

Success! One down 15 to go. (July, 2009)

Amy and Dan place the lintel of the door frame. (July, 2009)

Once some additional brush is cleared this door will illuminated by sunrise every day. (July, 2009)

As can be plainly seen, the "trail" is little more than a deer path and will need much work. (May, 2008)

The trail begins to take shape after much hard work. (May, 2008)

At this point only hand tools have been used to clear the land. This particular site was choosen with that in mind, in fact. Only 1 live tree and 2 dead ones needed to be removed in this first phase. (May, 2008)

This is area the roundhouse will be built on. Future work parties will remove ground vegetation, roots, and begin leveling. (May, 2008)

The fire ring in this photo is positioned directly over the stump shown in the photo above, which happens to be the center of the roundhouse. Instead of digging the stump out we decided to burn it out since this exact spot will be the fire pit inside the house. (March, 2009)

The oven is nearly identical to Mark III style we used at Celebration of Celts in 2008. The main difference is the inclusion of a lot more rock (under the soil) to increase the thermal mass. (March, 2009)

Although this perfectly split section looks like it was Casey's handiwork; in fact this is a direct result of the ice storm damage and the reason the tree was taken down.(April, 2009)

After a mere 2 months, foliage has started to fill in the site. (July, 2009)

Dan and DJ wrestly the very first upright into place. (July, 2009)

These two uprights mark the door frame. (July, 2009)

Amy is the first person to officially enter the roundhouse through the new door. (July, 2009)