Stone Stories: Building with 13th Century Methods

Construction in 13th century style.(June 2009) A veritable medieval castle is being reconstructed using 13th century technology and material in the French area of Guédelon. Aim of the project dubbed „Medieval

Building Site” is the pursuit of experimental Archeology: analysis not by means of the usual method of excavating ruins of an ancient building but pragmatically by building a castle under conditions of the time.

Construction has been under way since 1997 in the woods by Guédelon in Burgundy. By now parts of the fortress and the towers have grown out of the ground. By today’s standards progress is agonizingly slow. One of the reasons is that the stone used must be transported from the nearby quarry using horse and wagon. No motors or machinery can be heard on the site and workers are clad in the traditional clothing of medieval times.

Tourists are welcome to visit the site, as are school classes. The organizers cannot complain about a lack of interest: „about 60,000 pupils are ushered through the site each season on special tours”, as reported on the webpage published in English, French, Dutch, and German.

Chantier Médiéval de Guédelon

Photos: Delphine Bourselot