Saxon Building Woodwork, or ‘Treewrighting’
9am-4pm, Saturday 23rd March 2019
Led by Damian Goodburn BA PhD, a leading archaeological woodwork specialist, this workshop will be held in our new purpose-built Education Barn at the Sylva Wood Centre.
Learn about Anglo-Saxon building woodwork, based mainly on the study of surviving wooden remains, including a review of relatively new evidence, with live demonstrations of tools and techniques, and opportunities to watch treewrighting in action.
Morning activities will include illustrated talks covering the themes below, starting with evidence for how woodland resources were managed. Samples of books and publications will be discussed, including many rare items.
- The variation in woodland materials from ‘wildwood’ to intensive coppiced woodland.
- An overview of the range of waterlogged building woodwork remains found in Saxon and Saxo-Norman period England c.500-1180 AD when ‘carpentry’ and formal ‘timber-framing’ arrived from France.
- Evidence for basic techniques carried out without saws, including felling, bucking, radial, tangential cleaving, hewing various shaped timbers, styles of wattlework.
- Evidence for the range of joints and fastenings used, taps and locks, tusk tenons, laft joints, tongue and groove, scarfs, treenails and rove nails.
- Tool marks and tool kits, narrow axes, broad axes, ‘groping irons’.
- Evidence for ‘built-in’ furniture and fittings such as beds, benches, hearths, storage bins, and coops, doors and windows.
- Relevant ethnographic evidence from later timber buildings in the ‘Homelands’ areas on the east side of the North Sea, less influenced by French-style timber-framed carpentry, and how that can be used to extend archaeological evidence from England.
Afternoon activity will involve handling real samples of Saxon woodwork, and high-quality replica tools and fastenings.
Throughout the day demonstrations will be used to illustrate some basic techniques essential to treewrighting, including cleaving a small straight green log (oak or ash c. 150-200mm diam by 1.8-2m long) using wooden wedges, hewing with a narrow-bladed and broad-bladed ‘T’ axe, simple Saxon joint cutting, and willow treenail (wythenails) making.
While the course is underway, delegates will be able to to witness a range of related treewrighting activities nearby, thanks to members of the Carpenters’ Fellowship working on the frame of the House of Wessex.
Cost £75.00. Lunch provided. 20 places maximum. Safety boots essential.