The final part of our films shot inside a reconstruction of a mesolithic hut. Ian and Cristine from ESAMP offer up such delicacies as acorn cakes, sloes, acorn kernels, and nettle crisps. Keen Woodlands TV watchers will notice the point at the end of the film where camera 1 ran out of tape. Fortunately camera 2 kept on filming as the nettle crisp sequence unfolded.
Inside a re-creation of a mesolithic hut based on archaeological evidence, a group of children are spellbound. The adults show them the way sour fruit such as crab apples can be sweetened by roasting over the fire, and what can be eaten straight from the tree. Everything is tasted and compared. Haws and their medicinal propertied are discussed as well as “bletting” and fruit from the wild service tree. This is the first of 3 films Woodlands TV shot inside the hut. The only available light came from the fire, the chimmney and the door. As more children crowded in the doorway the light was reduced, but we carried on shooting because of the fascinating information been passed on. Hardly anything has been edited either because of the relaxed, natural style. So whilst things are slow moving and reflective this repays watching. The picture may be better if watched in full screen which lifts the light a little – or you could just sit back and enjoy the knowledge and skill of Cristine and Ian from ESAMP. In the 2 programmes to come, they look at a wider range of foods such as sloes, acorn flour, fruit leather and nettle “crisps”. A memorable, atmospheric experience not only for the audience but Woodlands TV too!
A rose arch made from hazel is always an attractive addition to any garden. Rosie Rendell discovered how to make one by going on a course at West Dean College, Chichester. WoodlandsTV talked to her whilst she was making one at the Weald Wood Fair in Sussex. Using a side adze to split the hazel ,and a mould with pre drilled holes Rosie discusses the points to look out for including a top tip to make your rose arch last longer. She is gaining more experience and skill working with Wildwood Charcoal and Coppice Products.
Long bows made from yew were used during the Hundred Years War. Neil Eddiford from Wolfshead Bowman describes the properties that made yew suitable for the long bow, and how often English yew wasn’t used at all. Other woods used for bows were ash and wych elm. He also looks at the arrows with fletchlings of goose feather, a bodkin point or a needle bodkin. These are serious weapons for medieval warfare, and Neil describes the range and penetration power these arrows could have. Wolfshead Bowmen are a re-enactment group and Woodlands TV met up with them at the Weald Wood Fair at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum.
The madder plant (Rubia tinctoria) is a useful root for dyeing, producing a deep red colour. The roots are brown but after soaking and simmering become dark red and the shades of colour can then softened using modifiers such as wood ash water. In a woodland setting, Jennie James from the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership (ESAMP) shows what these plants look like and discusses how to use them, along with the use of iron pyrites. She also looks at the importance of temperature in dyeing. The last of our three programmes on dyeing in woodlands using plants and barks, such as woad, weld, and alder buckthorn.
Alder buckthorn bark, woad and weld can all be used for dyeing. Jennie James from the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership (ESAMP) shows what these plants look like and the sort of colours they produce. A variety of different dyeing techniques such as overdyeing or using a mordant can then be applied to get different colours. When dyeing with woad, stale urine used to be used although nowadays spectralite is used instead. Jennie also has some woad seeds and a woad ball.
Experiments with dyes using evidence from scraps of material found at archaological sites from the Saxon period. Using natural products from woods and woodlands such as madder, weld, woad, barks from alder buckthorn birch, and walnut, and wild plants such as yarrow Jennie James shows the varieties of colours that can be achieved. Other techniques to produce different colours include overdyeing, and the use of a mordant such as alum. Much of the research is inspired by the books about dyes by Jenny Dean. Jennie James and Rachel Collins are part of East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership ESAMP. Following this fascinating introduction to dyes and dyeing the next programme looks at some of the natural products and the colours they produce.
Kim Williams is dubbing or adzing some timber planks using an adze, for a reconstruction Anglo Saxon building. Kim is part of the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership ESAMP
Remains of bows found from the Stone Age suggest our ancestors were taller and stronger than we think – with Allan Course.
Expert flint knapper Allan Course makes a flint arrowhead and discusses the archaeological background to flint knapping. www.woodlands.co.uk