PICTURES: Living in the Iron Age

Families experience life as an Iron Villager at a special experience day at Blackbury Camp.

It was a tough life for Iron Age dwellers, Midweek Herald reporter Katy Griffin discovered when she stepped back in time to see what life would have been like in Blackbury Camp.

She joined scores of families from across East Devon last Friday to become an Iron Age villager at the ancient hill fort near Seaton - dressing for the occasion in traditional costume.

The special experience day was organised by the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as part of the In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson project.

A team from Escot Education was on hand to bring history to life by demonstrating the art of pottery and flour making, wood turning and forging metal - and giving people the opportunity to try it themselves.

“I don’t think I would want to be an Iron Age villager all the time,” said Katy upon returning to the newsroom.

“It certainly wouldn’t have been an easy life for villagers during that period.

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“Many of the day-to-day activities seem very labour intensive, especially metal forging and grinding flour.”

During the Iron Age period, which was from about 800 BC to the 1st century AD, villagers would have been self-sufficient - making their own tools, clothing and wooden utensils from resources collected in the area.

Iron Age blacksmith Nic Wootton, of Escot Education, said: “They would have been able to make pretty much everything they wanted – bits for building and agriculture.

“They would have made all their own cutting and sharpening tools, and tools for preparing animals.”

The village’s blacksmith would have also made jewellery, as well as brooches used to fasten clothing together.

It would have taken the blacksmith half a day to forge a knife blade.

The women of the village would have been kept busy grinding flour to make bread - using stones to grind down the grains.

During the Iron Age, women were uaully married by the age of 13 and 14.

The experience day was well-attended and proved to be very educational for children - and adults, too.

Courtney Hartnell, 10, of Southleigh, said: “I enjoyed the experience and liked chopping up the wood.

“I have learnt a lot today.”

James Oak, nine, of Honiton, added: “I enjoyed doing the iron forging - hitting the metal with the hammer.

“Making the flour was hard. I have enjoyed it and I would do it again.”