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Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire

Updated Tuesday, 1st August 2006

The site at Butser allows you to imagine what life might have been like for the ancient Britons.

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reconstructed roundhouse at Butser Ancient Farm Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Butser is described in the guide book as being "neither a prehistoric site, or a museum, but an open air research laboratory where the Romano-Celtic world is being explored by full scale experiments". The roundhouses which featured in the 'Fact and Fable' programme were actually built as just such an experiment: evidence of their circular structure has been available to archaeologists for a long time, from circular rings of post holes found at many locations. The team at Butser drew together all the existing evidence about these houses, and used it to plan their re-construction. The building process threw up all kinds of unanticipated problems, and allowed a much clearer picture of Iron Age technology to emerge. Such 'reconstructive archaeology' is now common-place.

The site at Butser allows you to imagine what life might have been like for the ancient Britons. There are fields sown with varieties of cereals and plants known to have been cultivated by the Celts. And by using evidence from bones and woollen fragments, they have been able to trace the descendants of ancient farm animals, and you can see both Moufflon and Soay sheep grazing at the farm.

The research programme at Butser was set up over 20 years ago, and one of the current projects was featured in 'Fact and Fable': the reconstruction of a Roman Villa, based on the plan of a villa at Sparsholt. The site is open to visitors, who can also have a go at some of the crafts and skills needed to live in the Romano-Celtic world.

Butser Ancient Farm is located off the A3, north of Portsmouth and about 4 miles south of Petersfield.

 

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