Station: [22] The harbour settlement

  • Oldenburger Wallmuseum

We have now gone back 1000 years and find ourselves in a small village of the Middle Ages. The wooden houses in which people lived have been reconstructed by archaeologists based on ground finds. In our village you will find the various types of houses – as they might have looked.

Your path through the village leads you past our gardens, which were not usual in their form back then.  Herbal healers and other healers looked for their leaves, twigs and herbs in the wider surroundings, but did not disclose the location. Only when monasteries emerged were healing and toxic plants, medicinal plants planted and cultivated in the monastery gardens.

The village consists of 6 huts and a boathouse, the Naust, which served as a winter storeroom for our boats.

Wood for house-building was cut from autumn to the start of winter because at that time it had better protection against fungal decay and thus a better quality due to the sap resting in the wood.

The wooden trunks were processed immediately because they could be better split with the axe in a fresh condition than stored wood. Fractures on drying the wood were insignificant when building houses.

At that time oak trees were preferred for house-building, because this wood is hard but also elastic. Oakwood is extremely weather-resistant, but even oak posts can decompose near to the ground after 20-30 years due to the effect of the change from summer to winter.

Five of the houses are built in post construction form like the house to the left in front of you.

The solidity of this construction is provided by the frame deals all round at the bottom, and by anchor beams which bear the weight of the ceiling, a so-called couple roof which means you don’t need any other supports inside the house. You could also install planks on top of the all-round anchor beams providing additional space for items which need dry storage.  Furnishing in the

house includes simple tables, benches and chairs whose tops are planed boards and the legs are made of thick branches.

The walls of the neighboring white house, in contrast to all the other houses, are made of braided osier stakes, like our garden fences. Clay was then mixed with horse dung and straw and pasted onto the wall. The walls had a lime coating as protection against the rain. Inside the house you can see fishing rods used 1000 years ago.

At the village square you see two other houses. The house to the right is the weaver’s house.

There is a loom as used by the Slavs. The tension of the warp thread is achieved using small sandbags attached in bundles at the bottom. The finished fabric is rolled together upwards. The threads spun from sheep wool were dyed using plants.

In the next house, a carpenter has moved in. The most important tools of the carpenter included a wood turning lathe and a clamping bench. Here the carpenter could clamp wooden pieces so that he could use both hands to work the wood, in order to make spoons and other items.

The two houses at the front on the harbor jetty are made of oak-wood. A merchant and a rope-maker live here. The roofs are thatched, a material still used today in our region on account of its heat-insulating features. The roof shingles on the other roofs are made of larch-wood.