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contents : Early Medieval : Shelter & Housing

Summary: General Description of Raths

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This was the homestead of the early Christian period. It was about 30 metres in diameter and surrounded by an earthen bank. There was a variety of buildings within the enclosure. The houses from this period in the Ulster History Park are based on those excavated at Deer Park near Glenarm, Co Antrim. The houses were often round and made of wood or stone depending on availability and roofed with thatch. Others were rectangular and slates or shingle were used for roofing. Cavity walls filled with straw for insulation were common. They tended to be rather dirty, with much rubbish accumulating on the floors. Instead of cleaning this, the people usually just laid down a new layer of clay on top of the rubbish.

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Close-up view of wattle wall, doorway and thatched roof of house in rath

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