English Heritage – the charity which looks after Beeston Castle – has announced the completion of a replica Bronze Age roundhouse built by volunteers and school children in the quarry section of the property.
Using authentic tools and evidence from past archaeological digs, the structure took almost a year to build and a team of 60 volunteers.
Those getting involved in the construction project include a former dentist, a farmer and a nuclear physicist.
Visitors to Beeston Castle will now benefit from a greater appreciation of the lives of those who inhabited the site around 4,000 years ago.
It will also provide an immersive learning experience for education groups from across the North West.
The roundhouse will be of particular interest to primary schools – as prehistory was added to the National Curriculum in 2014 (prior to that it had never formally been taught at primary level).
Liz Page, historic properties director (west) at English Heritage, said: “A heartfelt thank you goes out to our dedicated volunteer team who gave so many hours of their own time to building this unique facility.
“We are pleased that we’re now able to open this up for everyone to enjoy.”
The inside of the roundhouse has been dressed appropriately for the era with various implements such as arrow heads, stone axes, pots of varying sizes and faux animal hides.
Visitors are being encouraged to get hands on and to immerse themselves in all things Bronze Age.
People lived on the Cheshire rocky crag long before the medieval castle was built, and the site was a particularly important defended settlement and metalworking centre.
Although little visible evidence remains of this early hive of activity, in the 1970s and 1980s, archaeologists discovered traces of post-holes for what was called ‘House Six’, a thatched Bronze Age roundhouse with walls of wattle-and-daub – a mixture of twigs, earth and clay.
Bronze Age objects such as axes and knives were also uncovered.