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Turf houses kept researchers warm and safe

Archaeologists have put early medieval turf houses to the test in storm conditions. (Published 17 March 2016)

Image showing researcher taking samples from the wall of a turf house
Daniël Postma taking a core sample of the turf wall. Photo credit: Tanja Romankiewicz, University of Edinburgh

Braving storm Imogen in early February, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Dr Tanja Romankiewicz teamed up with Daniël Postma, Doctoral Researcher at University of Groningen, Netherlands, to test the structural performance and insulation properties of early medieval turf walled houses in the northern Dutch region of Friesland. 

They took many samples of the reconstructed house at Firdgum and undertook moisture and density readings on site, which they plan to scientifically analyse over the summer.

Being on site during the hauling storm confirmed that the house is warm and protects its occupants well from the elements. Most importantly the house is still standing, despite the fact that it now has a few more holes in its walls than it had before.

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