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Maintenance on site: designing and building the Bryn Eryr roundhouses

Thursday, 12 January, 2012 to Wednesday, 27 May, 2015
Steve Burrow
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
1300 participants

Designing and building Bryn Eryr
The designing and building of Bryn Eryr, a group of Iron Age roundhouses, has been one of the central contributions of St Fagans National History Museum to the OpenArch project.

The project crosses several work packages, although it is logged in the project as part of the Dialogue with Science.

WP2 Improvement of Museum Management
The sustainability of reconstructed buildings is central to the success of archaeological open-air museums. If buildings decay, the visitor experience is diminished and costs rise. In designing the roundhouses at Bryn Eryr, particular attention has been paid to the experience of other OpenArch project partners in this area. The result is a group of roundhouses that, we hope, will avoid several pit falls relating to drainage, stability and repair.

WP3 The dialogue with visitors
Our previous roundhouses suffered from success. Too many people came to visit a space that was too small for them. In addition, the space was not very accessible to disabled visitors. The redesign of Bryn Eryr aimed to address these problems by making the needs of the visitor more central to the reconstruction. In this way, usability will be balanced with authenticity.

WP5 The dialogue with science
The Bryn Eryr roundhouses are of a new design, not previously attempted since the Iron Age. Areas that are particularly innovative include: the thick clom walls, and the use of spelt stuff thatched into the roof.

In total, the Bryn Eryr project has provided rich opportunities for discussion with partners, with presentations being made at the OpenArch conferences in Finland and Serbia, and with the opportunity for partners to see the work for themselves at St Fagans in 2015. An article summarising work on the roundhouses has also been produced for the EXARC Journal.