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20 March 2011
Neolithic house replica built by British schoolchildren

Children have built a Neolithic-style chalk house in the grounds of a Brighton (East Sussex, England) primary school. Youngsters from ten schools took part in the project, with the chalk house due to be officially opened in a ceremony next 24 March.
     The house, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been built in the same way as it would have been built nearly 5,000 years ago. Pupils had help from specialists from the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership during the nine-month project. They also took part in a Time Team style archaeological dig in the school grounds.
     The house is the first of its type to be reconstructed in Britain and relied on evidence uncovered at Durrington Walls near Stonehenge. Children helped construct the wattle walls. They bent hazel strips around a frame before crushing chalk into a powder, adding water to make a sticky chalk paste, and pushing it into the wattle framework. To learn more about the Neolithic period, pupils planted and harvested stone-age crops, processed them and used the flour to make bread.
     Moulsecoomb head Charles Davies said: "It's been an amazing project - real get-your-hands-dirty stuff. It's been great fun, and the children have learnt so much. Tristan Bareham, chief executive officer of Sussex Past, said that the Neolithic house was one of the most exciting archaeological projects in Britain. He said: "The excavated building was exceptionally well preserved and this has allowed us to create a building which has not been seen in this country for almost 5,000 years. This project has created not only a wonderful long-term resource for the school but has answered a number of important questions about buildings at this key time in our history."

Edited from Brighton and Hove News (17 March 2011)

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