VOLUNTEERS are taking the first steps in constructing a replica Anglo Saxon hall in the Oxfordshire countryside.

The huge wooden frame for the unique building is being hoisted into place this week using traditional methods including ropes, pulleys and human muscle.

Being built on a site in Long Wittenham where remains of a 'significant' building were discovered in 2016, the 'House of Wessex' is set to host educational activities and become the base for Wulfheodenas, a living history society.

Oxford Mail:

This group will be present this weekend while the project, organised by the Sylva Foundation, holds an open day so visitors can see the major milestone taking place first-hand.

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The frame has been built using 30 tonnes of wood donated by Blenheim Palace.

Project manager Tim Potts said activity this weekend will concentrate on moving and placing timbers together, getting the ground level of the frame in place before lifting others on top and finally fitting the parts that will make up the roof.

Oxford Mail:

Much of the work will be completed by hand while a rustic timber crane will lift the heaviest pieces into place.

As far as possible, the group is attempting to construct the building using only traditional methods.

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Mr Potts said: "We have been very aware through this process of the learning and experience that we gain from attempting all these tasks in as authentic a way as we can, and by discussing what we find.

"There are very few people in the country who have had the opportunity to get to grips with this method of building and to participate in what is essentially an exercise in experimental archaeology.

"Every time someone tries to re-create a building from the past, making efforts to be true to the evidence, something more is revealed about how things may have been done, or indeed how they may not."

Oxford Mail:

The weekend's open day, which runs from 10am until 4pm, will also feature a specialist thatcher demonstrating traditional skills and Anglo-Saxon crafts, play and traditional games.

Archaeologists have dated the remains found on the site to the 7th century and believe that, due to its size and location, it would have been an important building, likely used by nobility.