You might be wondering why there is a picture of Stonehenge at the top of this blog post, it turns out archaeologists have found an “eco-home” near it. Its a bit of a silly story since I doubt if mesolithic man was thinking about the environment when building it. It seems that our ancestors used a fallen tree as one wall and the pit left by the fallen tree as a place to live. Both were lined with stones. A post was erected about 10m away to support a roof linked to the eco-home. What has got archaeologists so excited was the use of stones which were heated by a fire elsewhere and placing them close to where people slept, which was safer. Its other eco features included a lot of animal skins as insulation. People occupied the eco-home for about 90 years. However, in my mind the slightly later underground houses at Skara Brae in Orkney are far more sophisticated.
The whole eco-home issue does raise some contemporary issues though. The archaeologists compared the occupants of the eco-home living in relative harmony with their environment with that of the A303 20m away. Another issue is the idea of earth houses which are obviously not new (what is), having a low impact on the environment, particularly visually. From the aesthetic point of view it this idea of underground living maybe part of a solution to the UK’s housing crisis although there are other impacts they do not solve.