A very well preserved Bronze Age roundhouse is under excavation at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire. The house was built on top of a raised timber platform over a prehistoric river channel, and is of a type of settlement known as a crannog. Dating to 1000 - 800 BC, it seems the house collapsed into the river after the platform, and the piles holding it up, caught fire. The survival of this quantity of structural timber is very rare, and is due to the anaerobic conditions of the overlying river mud. Pottery vessels containing food remains have been found, as well as valuable items such as a bronze dagger and spearhead, suggesting that the occupants had to leave in haste and could not retrieve their belongings.
Images: Cambridgeshire Archaeological Trust
This little roundhouse is pretty unique as it has been thatched with heather. It is 5m in diameter and based on an excavated building at Deer Park Farms, Co. Antrim. Labelled an 'undifferentiated structure', the wall and roof are one and the same rather than two separate elements as with most reconstructed roundhouses. The wattle wall was built in the traditional way to a suitable height. More hazel rods were then inserted into the weave of the wall and pulled together to form a cone, which was then wattled just like the wall. Bundles of heather were then pushed into the woven roof.
This house, seen in the background of the above photo is a reconstruction of a Mesolithic roundhouse, the remains of which have been found across Britain and Ireland, and date to around 7,000 - 8,000 BC.