Wednesday, 15 May 2013

15th May: Prehistoric trackway reconstruction

Today I was volunteering on Shapwick Heath NNR, helping to re-construct a section of prehistoric trackway. Thousands of years ago, when the Avalon Marshes were much wetter than they are today, wooden trackways were used by the local people to connect the islands of dryer ground. Some of these trackways have been found preserved in the peat, and now an effort is being made to re-construct some of them to demonstrate how our ancestors used this landscape.
It was a very fun and interesting day, using basic tools not dissimilar to the bronze aged tools used to make the originals, and it was great to learn a bit more about the fascinating and rich heritage of the area. The site chosen for the re-construction was in the wet woodland at the West end of the reserve near Decoy Hide, near where the 'Sweet Track' was first discovered. The plan is to make sections of the different styles of pre-historic pathways found in the area, and allow visitors to use them to get a glimpse of what life here would've been like thousands of years ago, and to aid exploration of an intriguing and rare habitat.
The wet, boggy woodland the trackway passes through 
The section we were making today was a replica of the 'Meare Heath Trackway', a relatively advanced  style of trackway using solid planks of wood that sit on top of sleepers that are staked into the ground.

The re-construction

A lovely little frog in one of the ditches

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