Site Overview

A hands-on activity centre for children and older students

The Ancient Technology Outdoor Education Centre in Cranborne, Dorset, is a historically-based activity centre for children and young adults accessed via school visits, learning centre visits, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, colleges and university field studies.

The centre houses a reconstruction Viking longhouse. The evidence for this building comes from the Royal garrison forts of Denmark where these houses formed quadrangles within circular ramparts. The 26m bow-sided hall acts as a residential facility for the centre.

The building style is notable for its absence of interior roof-supporting posts and relies, to a degree, on the curving shape of the timbers and internal tie beams that span the main hall to make it stand.

The roof has over 22,000 handmade shingles covering larch boards which overlay the rafters and the sweet chestnut frame. The walls are hazel and sweet chestnut wattle, daubed and whitewashed, while the main hall floor is a mixture of local chalk and earth mixed with un-pasteurised milk to form a flexible yet hard-wearing surface.

As with other buildings throughout the site, the majority of work was undertaken by visiting school children, older students from learning centres, and volunteers.

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