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!
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.
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