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Questions

Delphi House of Questions was an EU Culture 2000 project by three EXARC members. Under this umbrella, other EXARC members as well collected and answered the most frequently asked questions by visitors to archaeological open-air museums. The largest part of this collection of questions you can find here – as many of them still carry importance. In most cases we offer the questions both in the original language and in English.

How did they put the wooden piles into the loch (UK)?

They sharpened the bottom end of the pile to a point using axes. They tied a cross piece of timber and attached it near the top. A person on either side of this cross piece could then twist back and forth to drive the pile into the bed of the loch.

Why is Āraiši settlement called a lake fortress (LV)?

It was established in the course of archaeological excavation (1965–1969; 1975–1979) that Āraiši lake fortress had been built on an island in the lake for defensive purposes and had been fortified in a similar manner to...

Why was Āraiši built on an island in the lake (LV)?

Āraiši lake fortress was built and inhabited in the Viking Age (9th–10th cent. AD) by the Latgallians, one of the ancient Baltic groups. In the middle and second half of the...

How was Āraiši lake fortress built (LV)?

Āraiši lake fortress was built on a low, frequently inundated islet in the lake, connected to the shore by means of an 80-metre-long natural bank of glacial till. In the 9th century, when the lake fortress was built, the water level in Lake Āraiši was...

What did the dwellings in the lake fortress look like (LV)?

The 9th century lake fortress consisted of 16 houses, with a habitable area of 10–30 m2. The houses were built of horizontal logs, with gently-sloping roofs, made of spruce or birch bark, as well as turf, and served at the same time as the ceiling...

How many people lived in a lake fortress (LV)?

Every dwelling house with its auxiliary structures was an independent economic unit. Each house would have been the home of one nuclear family, consisting of parents, children and grandparents...

How did the interior of the dwellings in the lake fortress look like (LV)?

There were sleeping places and benches along the walls. Sometimes, in one corner of the room, the in- built structure from horizontal logs was made, where house hold items of bigger size and tools were stored...

How long did it take the Vikings to build a house like the Borg Museums’ longhouse (NO)?

It depends on what resources and materials were available. A possible estimate is one to two years (the reconstruction took one year to build), but we must also consider that the house seems to have been continually added to and maintained.

Was the longhouse at Borg really 83 metres long (NO)?

Yes, the house was this long during its last phase of existence, but it had been rebuilt several times, so the length has varied.

How and why is a reconstruction of Āraiši lake fortress being built (LV)?

Āraiši lake fortress was attacked and destroyed in the late 10th century, and was never rebuilt. When the foundations settled and the water level in the lake rose, the building remains and artefacts ended up underwater, and in these anaerobic conditions they were preserved up to the present day...

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