Guédelon Castle in northern Burgundy is a radical archaeological experiment. From afar, it looks like a traditional 13th century castle, built in the medieval style from stone, clay, sand, and wood. But up close, one can see that it is an active construction site, populated by construction workers and builders who, despite their medieval attire, clearly hail from the 21st century.
For the last two decades, a group of archaeologists, architects, carpenters, and other master builders have been working together to construct a realistic 13th century castle, exclusively using local materials and medieval building techniques. The project—highlighted in a short video from Great Big Story titled “Building a Medieval Castle in Modern Times”—is projected to be completed in a total of 25 years.
The project hopes to provide valuable historical insights and possibly solve some historical mysteries. Participants in the project hope to learn more about daily life in medieval times by living it themselves, as well as to become more informed about medieval architecture and technology. And, according to the Guédelon website, they'll also be doing some good by promoting sustainable building practices. Their methods show how much can be achieved with local materials and traditional building techniques.
In the clip, Great Big Story explores Guédelon and meets with two of the people spearheading the project: co-founder and director Maryline Martin and stonemason Clément Guérard.
“No one has ever built, in the modern world, castles from the 13th century,” Martin explains. “So, from the first stone to the last tile, we have to learn.”
Learn more about the project above.
Banner Image Credit: Great Big Story, YouTube