We were invited to a birthday party last night by our friend Chloe. She is a member of ACE ARCHAEOLOGY CLUB which based in Mid Devon and dedicated to investigating and protecting Devon’s Archæological Heritage. The club is an active local group of people of all ages devoted to the promotion, use and investigation of all the many different types of archaeology, from surveying, experimental archæology, field walking, participation in excavations to archive research, from palaeolithic to more recent times. Recently, they’ve been investigating the damage done by bracken rhizomes on the ancient round house sites on Dartmoor.
In honour of one of the member’s birthday, Mac Howard, they build an oven from granite stone slabs with, as Chloe called it, “mud pie glue”. First, they dug a shallow pit, then placed in granite stones in a box shape and held it together with mud. They built a fire inside, and outside (to heat the door) and let it burn for about 5 hours. The fire was then cleared away and a seven kilo leg of venison on the bone, was placed inside. Two and a half hours later it was ready to eat.
Earth ovens are one of the earliest pieces of cooking ‘equipment’ and took our culinary experience beyond holding meat on a stick over a fire to preparing it in a more sophisticated and communal manner.
We can attest to the high quality of the oven. The venison was tender and delicious and it didn’t take long for a field of archeologists to eat it all up to the bone. Did we notice the rain? Of course not. Thank you Mac, Chloe and Spyder, we had a great time.