Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hougue Bie - Neolithic Longhouse

Up at Hougue Bie as the Spring sunshine filters through a misty morning, the finishing touches are being put in place ahead of Jersey Heritage opening its doors to the public on the 29th March.

The new addition is longing to see is the newly built replica Neolithic Longhouse.

Hand-built, using (where they can) replica tools, the Longhouse sits quietly below the medieval chapel in the mottled shade of the Heritage site.

Close by friendly volunteers still undertake both acts of housekeeping and neolithic activities. You will find woven willow fencing, a sprang (neolithic weaving) and quern-stones to mill the grain. Everything is clearly explained by those people who have donated their time and passion to help realise this long held ambition.

Here I'm shown how the stems and roots of nettles when dried and worked become hemp-like in appearance and create string.

But the real treasure is the house itself. As soon as you enter there is a strange feeling that this was recently inhabited and vacated.

An other worldly feeling that's hard to articulate but if you have ever wandered through a site of spiritual significance and felt that physical pull were you could reach out to the past, you'll know exactly what I mean. It's magical. Partly it's the hand built quality, rough cast with designs and markings on them, that gives rise to a sense of the presence of people. But this site has a real affinity with the landscape and the people around it.