We believe that fire is a powerful medium to capture the attention of audiences, and offers a tangible connection to prehistoric people, where fire was a fundamental means to cook food, make pottery and metals, and transform landscapes. Fire was also a central part of social life in prehistory – people sat around fires to tell stories, they cremated their dead in spectacular pyres, and fire played a central role in small-scale rituals and large-scale ceremonial performances.
Our Build N Burn events tap into these and other aspects of fire–human relations in the ancient past. Through public events and festivals, we have developed a series of activities which offer a unique insight into prehistoric life. We built timber structures and monuments that draw on evidence from local Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. We work with local communities, schools, heritage groups and prehistoric craft specialists to create interactive activities that help people learn about prehistoric crafts and lifestyles. We undertake experimental archaeology work related to craft activities, monument construction and taphonomic (TOO NICHE) processes. But most of all, we Build N Burn.
The culmination of our projects is always a free-to-the-public large-scale burning event. We burn down the timber monument that was built over the past week, drawing on archaeological evidence for grand burning events in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. As the audience gathers, we mix creativity, performance and music to enhance these experiences, and start the fires at dusk. These burn deep into the night.
Watch this space...
To date, we have carried out three projects. Burning the Circle on the island of Arran in 2013 and 2014, and The Mysteries of Prehistories, in Caithness in 2015. In 2017, we will return to Arran for our most ambitious Build N Burn project to date, culminating in a fiery spectacular in the grounds of Brodick Castle on the evening of 23rd September 2017. You are invited to join us.