This article appeared in the Autumn 1972 (Issue #29) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.
A frequent subject for discussion in archaeological circlcs today is the destruction of important sites, and so it is pleasing to report that experiments in reconstruction are being conducted in the south of England.
At Keston in 1970 excavations were completed of a Saxon weaver's hut (reported in KAR 25), while in West Sussex a reconstruction of a similar weaver's "Grubenhaus" was on view to the public. The Sussex reconstruction consists of a simple thatched ridge roof with wattle ends and side walls all supported by two main posts, one placed at each end of the sunken floor area. The hut can be entered so that the visitor may inspect a full-size reproduction of a loom.
Two recent excavations of "Grubenhauser" at Old Errington and Bishopstone, Sussex, provided the museum staff with information for the reconstruction -- the Bishopstone site resembles the hut discovered at Keston, in size and in the grouping of the minor stake holes.
The Sussex weaver's hut is one of a number of very interesting, but widely differing, exhibits open to the public at The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum located at Singleton, Sussex, which is about six miles from Chichester.
The museum was formed in 1965 and selected buildings of historic interest situated in the Weald and neighbouring areas and which are threatened with unavoidable destruction, are recorded, carefully dismantled and rebuilt at the 35 acre site at Singleton. Exhibits include a 19th century Toll cottage from Beeding, a Tread Wheel house, a reconstruction of a Charcoal Burner's Hut and Kiln, and a 14th century Farm House from Windhurst, etc., all open to inspection.
A visit to the museum is recommended together with the purchase of the excellent guide book which, for many, will become a useful reference book.