Butser Ancient Farm

Butser Ancient Farm Experimental Archaeology and Educational site
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Welcome to Butser Ancient Farm! We’re a unique experimental archaeological site and a fascinating day out, nestled into the rolling South Downs National Park. The farm displays ongoing constructions of ancient buildings based on real sites, dating from the Stone Age through the Iron Age and Roman Britain, and finishing with the Anglo-Saxons. We also grow crops from prehistory and keep rare breeds of animals, including pigs, goats and sheep. We have a full programme of special events including fantastic Celtic festivals and workshops, such as metallurgy, Iron Age cooking, bushcraft skills or felting. It’s a truly memorable family day out on the Hampshire/West Sussex border.

Sorry to share that we'll be going quiet here for a little while as most of our team have now been furloughed and are un...
30/03/2020

Sorry to share that we'll be going quiet here for a little while as most of our team have now been furloughed and are unable to continue our normal online interactions for the time being 😢

We'll very much miss sharing with you but hope it won't be long until we can resume normal farm life. In the meantime if you feel able to and would like to make a donation to support the continuation of our work you can do so through our website here; www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/support-us

If you need to contact us for any reason please email [email protected]

Thank you so much for your continued support. These are very worrying times but we are hopeful that together we will get through this and continue to educate, inspire and bring the past to life for generations to come.

Sending you all our very best wishes for your continued health and wellbeing. Please stay safe and look after one another.
From all the team at Butser Ancient Farm

Great 'thatchers-eye' view of the site from the top of the Stone Age house!Sadly we have had to stop work on this build ...
29/03/2020

Great 'thatchers-eye' view of the site from the top of the Stone Age house!

Sadly we have had to stop work on this build for now, but we are itching to get back to it as soon as possible and hope we may be able to resume work slowly over the coming months.

After a flurry of activity over the past week all of our ewes have now given birth and we have welcomed 8 beautiful lamb...
28/03/2020

After a flurry of activity over the past week all of our ewes have now given birth and we have welcomed 8 beautiful lambs to the Butser flock!

Day two of the online open-access EXARC conference 'Documentation Strategies in (Archaeological) Open-Air Museums' 😀Our ...
27/03/2020

Day two of the online open-access EXARC conference 'Documentation Strategies in (Archaeological) Open-Air Museums' 😀
Our Project coordinator Trevor will be presenting this afternoon on 'Strategies to Document, Record and Store Key Information'
Find links and more information here; https://exarc.net/meetings/berlin ☺️

Don't forget if you're interested you can join EXARC today for their first ever free online conference; Documentation St...
26/03/2020
2020 March - Documentation Strategies in (Archaeological) Open-Air Museums | EXARC

Don't forget if you're interested you can join EXARC today for their first ever free online conference; Documentation Strategies in (Archaeological) Open-Air Museums.

The conference is running on the afternoons of both 26 & 27 March, you can watch the conference online following this link and chat to speakers in the online Q&A sessions. https://exarc.net/meetings/berlin

Our project coordinator Trevor will be speaking tomorrow afternoon ☺️

See you there!

Summary: The #EXARCBerlin conference will go live, here on 26 & 27 March. We will broadcast open access at no costs whatsoever. The presentations will remain online after the conference. Tune in during the live conference and join us also at at Discord! Follow this webpage for updates. .. The conten...

It was lovely to welcome the team from Antiques Road Trip to the farm last week for a spot of filming...some of our last...
25/03/2020

It was lovely to welcome the team from Antiques Road Trip to the farm last week for a spot of filming...some of our last visitors for a while!
Antiques expert Izzie Balmer learnt some Flint knapping with ancient skills tutor Mark, met our friendly sheep and even kindly lent a hand daubing our Stone Age house with our archaeologist Claire!
We'll let you know when the show airs, hopefully in the Autumn! 😃

Ask Butser - for children, parents, carers and teachers! We are really sad not to be able to welcome school groups to vi...
24/03/2020

Ask Butser - for children, parents, carers and teachers!

We are really sad not to be able to welcome school groups to visit us at this difficult time. We love sharing about Butser and bringing the past to life and want to help wherever we can in these tricky times.

If you have a question you'd like to ask about Butser, or life in the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon or Viking periods please get in touch and we will try to get back to you with an answer! You can email us at [email protected], send us a facebook message or comment on this post.

We'll try to do this once a week and also hope to be able to make some short videos to bring a small part of the magic of Butser to you wherever you are in the coming weeks.

Take care everyone!

Our projects coordinator Trevor was due to be speaking at the EXARC conference ' Documentation Strategies in (Archaeolog...
22/03/2020

Our projects coordinator Trevor was due to be speaking at the EXARC conference ' Documentation Strategies in (Archaeological) Open-Air Museums' in Berlin this coming week all about how we record our building projects here at Butser.

However in light of the global situation the conference is now moving to a digital format and will be broadcast live, open access on 26 and 27 March.

Follow the link below to find out about the conference programme and how you can take part. Many thanks to the wonderful team at EXARC for all their hard work and coordination making this transition to a digital conference possible 🙂
https://exarc.net/meetings/berlin

see you (virtually!) there!

Butser Ancient Farm Covid-19 UpdateWe are really sorry to share that, perhaps inevitably, we are no longer going to be a...
22/03/2020

Butser Ancient Farm Covid-19 Update

We are really sorry to share that, perhaps inevitably, we are no longer going to be able to welcome visitors to Butser for a while.

We had hoped that our open spaces would be OK to stay accessible, but in light of the most recent government public health advice regret that this will no longer be possible. Staff, volunteer and visitor safety is paramount and we cannot guarantee that we would be able to ensure appropriate social distancing.

We'll continue to share online (especially pictures of baby lambs!) and really hope it won't be long until we can welcome you again to the farm.

Thank you very much for your continued support. As a self-funded, not-for-profit organisation these are worrying times, if you would like to make a donation to support our work, or purchase a voucher to be used at a later date we would be very grateful. Details of both can be found through our website www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/support-us

Please stay safe and look after each other.

Some positive news and signs of spring, the first Butser lambs of 2020 arrived this morning! ☺️Mum and the little ones a...
21/03/2020

Some positive news and signs of spring, the first Butser lambs of 2020 arrived this morning! ☺️
Mum and the little ones are all doing well and enjoying the sunshine! 😍

21/03/2020
Sounds of the Stone Age build

In these challenging times we wanted to share with you the gentle soundscape of our Stone Age build.
The noise of flint tools hitting wood, thatch being bundled and the chatter of conversation during our stone age build has been very distinctive, and we felt worth recording... a glimpse into the sounds of the past!
Thanks to Tom Westhead from @Wessex Archaeology for pulling these clips of the build together and all the wonderful people who have been involved with the buld so far. The work won't stop but may take a little longer to complete but we'll continue to share our progress with you as we go.

This week we bid a fond, if slightly tearful, goodbye to our last school groups 😢A huge thank you to all the schools tha...
20/03/2020

This week we bid a fond, if slightly tearful, goodbye to our last school groups 😢

A huge thank you to all the schools that have visited the farm and continue to support our work, it's been an absolute pleasure having you here with us.

To all those groups that were scheduled to join us in the coming months, we are really sorry that it was not to be at this time, but we hope it is not long till we are waving hello again.

The team are working hard to see what support and resources we can provide remotely and hope to share more about this next week, in the mean time take care and stay safe.

If anyone feels they are able and would like to make a donation to support our work and the continuation of the farm, details can be found on our website. Thank you!

A little bit of joy in these difficult times... today our rare breed English goats had an ultrasound scan and we found o...
19/03/2020

A little bit of joy in these difficult times... today our rare breed English goats had an ultrasound scan and we found out that both Bella and Sorrel are pregnant, possibly with twins, after their visit from the dashing Billy goat Ebernoe earlier this year ☺️🐐

They'll be due in June and we can't wait to welcome these much needed bundles of joy to the farm!

English goats are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust critical list with less that 100 currently recorded. We only breed them every two years, specifically for conservation grazing and the preservation of this special breed.

Thank you so much to Fairgolden Ultrasound and Microchipping who were so kind to come and check our goats for us, in the ultrasound pictures you can just about make out the shape of a little goat! 🥰

Butser Ancient Farm Beltain Statement It is with sadness that we have made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming...
19/03/2020

Butser Ancient Farm Beltain Statement

It is with sadness that we have made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming events up to and including this year’s Beltain festival, due to take place on the 2nd May 2020, due to the latest public health guidance in relation to COVID-19. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Beltain is the highlight of our year and a vital part of our fundraising efforts for our continued research and educational work.

Refunds will be automatically processed within the next few days, however if you are able, please consider making a donation to support our work – every bit of support will really help to sustain us at this difficult time. You can make a donation through our website or purchase a gift voucher to use at the farm for a workshop, event or admittance to the farm at a later date.

Over the coming weeks we will be regrouping and reflecting on our plans, however at present we are still open to visitors to enjoy the open spaces and fresh air amongst our ancient buildings, we are offering reduced entry prices with free entry to children and concessionary prices for adults until further notice, but we will welcome any further donations that you feel able to make. Our opening times may be more limited and subject to change at short notice so please check our website before visiting.

We hope to plan a spectacular celebration or festival for when this is all over and would love to see you there!

Thank you very much for your continued support. As a self funded, not for profit organisation these are worrying times but we will get through this and pull together. Please stay safe and look after one another.

Butser Ancient Farm COVID-19 UPDATEIn these extraordinary times we are looking very carefully at what we are able to con...
18/03/2020

Butser Ancient Farm COVID-19 UPDATE

In these extraordinary times we are looking very carefully at what we are able to continue to offer whilst maintaining the safety of all staff, volunteers and visitors here at Butser Ancient Farm.

As an outside, open-air site we currently hope to be able to remain open, giving access to the fresh air, open spaces and healing contact with nature and heritage. We will be offering free entry to all children and all adults will be admitted on a concessionary rate until further notice but we will welcome any further donations that you feel able to make. Our opening times may be more limited and subject to change at short notice so please check our website before visiting. We’ll be lighting the roundhouse fires, expecting new baby lambs any day and the site is a haven for nature and wildlife in this beautiful part of the South Downs National Park.

We will of course be reviewing this constantly in line with the latest government advice and ensuring that we are able to maintain adequate social distancing measures for all on site.

As such we would like to inform you of the additional precautionary measures we have in place to keep us all safe;

· We have both internal and external hand washing facilities available and will continue to regularly clean all contact points.

· We are able to accept contactless payment at our tills and will be encouraging this rather than use of cash.

· Our small café will continue to use eco-friendly takeaway packaging, which we kindly ask you to dispose of in the bins provided.

· Whilst the site will currently remain open, our planned Easter guided activities and re-enactments will now not go ahead. You will be free to explore the site individually or in your family groups and we plan to still have an Easter trail available for those who wish to take part.

· We will be making a separate announcement about upcoming events including our Beltain Festival tomorrow.

· We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will be updating our website and social media channels with any updates to access arrangements.

Thank you very much for your continued support. As a self funded, not-for-profit organisation these are worrying times, if you would like to make a donation to support our work or purchase a voucher to be used at a later date we would be very grateful. Details of both can be found through our website here; https://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/plan-your-visit

Please stay safe and look after one another.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Dark Norse Storytelling evening with Jason Buck Storyteller on Friday! It wa...
17/03/2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Dark Norse Storytelling evening with Jason Buck Storyteller on Friday! It was a magical evening gathered with friends around the fireside.
Here is a brilliant photo of Jason in action, taken by attendee Andreea from SkullVikings. Jason returns to Butser in June for 'The Last Dragons' an evening of storytelling exploring the legends of the dragons!
Skål!

This week the satisfying job of daubing has begun on our Stone Age Horton house! We have been able to reuse the daub, a ...
15/03/2020

This week the satisfying job of daubing has begun on our Stone Age Horton house!
We have been able to reuse the daub, a lovely mixture of mud, straw and animal dung, that was removed from our previous Llandygai house, remixing it with water to create the sticky coating for our wattle wall!
Find out more on our blog; https://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/butser-blog

Tonight we're looking forward to welcoming visitors for our sold out Dark Norse Storytelling evening with Jason Buck Sto...
13/03/2020

Tonight we're looking forward to welcoming visitors for our sold out Dark Norse Storytelling evening with Jason Buck Storyteller

The site always takes on an extra magical quality at night. We captured these photos last week as the moon shone down on the framework of our Neolithic build 🌝🤩

Our next evening event will be on the 11th April Ēostre Saxon celebration – Mead, Music and Storytelling and there are still a few tickets available for this atmospheric event in our great roundhouse under the stars!

We've certainly been having some rather wild weather recently but, in a moment of sunshine, a beautiful double rainbow w...
11/03/2020

We've certainly been having some rather wild weather recently but, in a moment of sunshine, a beautiful double rainbow was seen over the site this week, captured wonderfully here by our shop manager Karen 😃🌈

We are thrilled to be working so closely with Wessex Archaeology on our current Stone Age build. This is such a special ...
10/03/2020

We are thrilled to be working so closely with Wessex Archaeology on our current Stone Age build. This is such a special partnership as Wessex were the team who discovered and excavated the Horton site, and many of the excavation team have been closely involved in the work here at Butser.

If you'd like to find out more about the archaeology behind the project, Wessex have just published a brilliant blog and video detailing the story of the archaeology that inspired this unique and very exciting project...

During excavations at CEMEX Kingsmead Quarry, Horton (Berkshire), they discovered unprecedented evidence of early Neolithic domesticity in England - including four structures likely used as houses. The largest of these, Horton 2, provides the basis for our ongoing Neolithic reconstruction...

Hear more from the Senior Project Manager, Gareth Chaffey, in Wessex's new video and blog: https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/news/building-butsers-neolithic-house-archaeology

We had a great day recently working with a lovely group of local conservation volunteers to coppice willow from nearby w...
08/03/2020

We had a great day recently working with a lovely group of local conservation volunteers to coppice willow from nearby woodland as part of The Whitelands Project CIC. This is a brilliant native woodland restoration project focused on conservation and biodiversity and we are thrilled to be working with them 😊
Thank you to everyone who helped out, this is the first of several coppicing days and, after our Beltain festival, we hope to use the willow to improve the wattle fencing around our Iron Age enclosure.

This week on our Stone Age build we've been continuing to work on both the wattle and plank walls and more thatching! Ne...
07/03/2020

This week on our Stone Age build we've been continuing to work on both the wattle and plank walls and more thatching!

Next week we should be ready to get started with some daubing! 😃

Over on the blog our projects coordinator Trevor has been reflecting on the number of people involved and the decisions involved in the various wall types on the building; https://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/butser-blog

Tomorrow we're excited to be joining friends from The Novium Museum for the first community day as part of the amazing N...
06/03/2020

Tomorrow we're excited to be joining friends from The Novium Museum for the first community day as part of the amazing North Bersted Man Iron Age warrior exhibition.

Join us at the Bersted Park Community Centre from 10:00 till 14:00 and learn more about life in the Iron Age, at the site where the Mystery Warrior was discovered!

There will also be archaeologists from Thames Valley Archaeological services who excavated the site, alongside crafts, mini-digs, weaving and more.

It's free to attend with donations welcome.

Find more details here; www.thenovium.org/mysterywarrior

Our Neolithic house project, working with Wessex Archaeology was featured on BBC London News last night! You can find a ...
05/03/2020
BBC London - Evening News: 04/03/2020

Our Neolithic house project, working with Wessex Archaeology was featured on BBC London News last night!

You can find a great section just after the 20 minute mark (from 20.11) here on BBC iPlayer but be quick as this program expires at 6.55pm tonight. 😃

The latest news, sport and weather from London.

Easter is not far away and we're looking forward to a whole host of lovely activities at the farm. On the evening of Eas...
03/03/2020

Easter is not far away and we're looking forward to a whole host of lovely activities at the farm.
On the evening of Easter Saturday you can join us for Ēostre Saxon celebration – Mead, Music and Storytelling and be transported back to the Saxon hearth in the company of reenactment group Herigeas Hundas. This is set to be a very special evening with rehearsals well under way - there will be storytelling, Saxon music and singing and other performances as you are welcomed as the Saxon's special guests!
Thanks to Ross Underwood for the pictures from our Saxon and Viking evening last September

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Chalton Lane
Petersfield
PO8 0BG

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Our Story

Welcome to Butser Ancient Farm! We’re a unique experimental archaeological site and a fascinating day out, nestled into the rolling South Downs National Park. The farm displays ongoing constructions of ancient buildings based on real sites, dating from the Stone Age through the Iron Age and Roman Britain, and finishing with the Anglo-Saxons. We also grow crops from prehistory and keep rare breeds of animals, including pigs, goats and sheep.

Here you can travel back to Ancient Britain and experience it with all your senses: touching, seeing and hearing, smelling wood smoke and perhaps even tasting bread cooked over a crackling fire. You will gain a real sense of the past, from the Stone Age through to the Iron Age and Romans, and finishing with the Anglo-Saxons. Discover what they ate, how they survived and where they slept. Was life a constant struggle or was there time to have fun too?

The story of Butser Ancient Farm began with a decision in 1970 by the Council for British Archaeology to establish a working ‘ancient farm’ where archaeologists could experiment to test their theories on how people lived in Iron Age times. The farm is now a world-renowned hub for archaeological research, carrying out pioneering experiments to understand how the people of ancient Britain lived. The site is also visited by 30,000 schoolchildren a year who come for a fun and unique day out to learn about traditional skills, archaeology and Britain’s prehistory. With an increase in visitors year after year, the farm is developing into one of the top attractions in the country for lovers of history, wildlife, archaeology, animals, architecture and rural life.

We have a full programme of special events including fantastic Celtic festivals and workshops, such as metallurgy, Iron Age cooking, bushcraft skills or felting. It’s a truly memorable family day out on the Hampshire/West Sussex border.

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Comments

Hello I have 2 tickets for the Holly King tomorrow 21st at 1pm. Would someone like them for a donation or to buy them? It's for 2 adult and 1 child. We won't be able to come as we're traveling a long way and there's flooding here. Please pm me. Happy solstice!
Thank you one and all for a wonderful atmospheric evening on Friday for Tales of Winter Magic. Innocent Hare and I had a great time.
A video from the last Burning of the Wicker Man. The amazing shanty group, The Powder Monkeys.
Today my daughter made a stoneage roundhouse cake for her homework project on the stoneage 💖💖💖
Blacksmiths at Beltain 2019
Booked for Imbolc, can't wait! Can we bring our drums? x
Andrew and Andrew with the axes. Made on Saturday last .
If you had a go in the coracle - this is what it could have been like if we had a river! https://www.britishpathe.com/video/coracle-fishing/query/coracle https://www.britishpathe.com/video/a-bygone-craft/query/coracle
A review of Beltane, 2018.