March 2005 Progress Report

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It's been 11 months since the last official progress report and we have been hard at work at The Danelaw and off site on our bid for the 14th Australian Medieval and Re-enactment Convention.

Dungkeep - the fort has been raised substantially in the past few months. A solid parapet has been added and it is now quite an imposing structure. The fort has been an unexpectedly hard slog and we are glad that the inner ring is now nearing completion. The most backbreaking part is now behind us and we look forward to the lighter tasks of adding hand/safety rails to the parapets and front gates in the near future.

  • " Dungkeep" as at 06 Feb 05

Tavern - The first period building at the Dunghaven encampment has begun. The Tavern site was cleared of vegetation, painstakingly marked out, and the holes for the uprights have been started.

"The Danelaw" doubles in Size - When we first bought The Danelaw in May 2003, we undertook what we thought was a thorough and accurate walk around the property to identify suitable areas for Re-enactment activities and to identify the property boundaries. In our first few months of ownership, we took a bulky and obsolete GPS out with us (Accurate to 100m) into the wetlands and towards the remote northern boundary to help us get an accurate picture of what the property contained and where it extended to. Unfortunately, on the day we had the GPS out, a thick fog rolled in, and although we were able to confidently say that we had found some of the northern boundary points, we could not see past 10m away most of the time so the landmarks that we identified were somewhat of a guess. Occasionally the fog would part to give us a fleeting, narrow corridor of visibility through which we would take a compass bearing and distance estimate to attempt to identify the distant tree line or other visible landmark. At one stage, had it not been for the GPS, we would not have found our way out the swamp (The Dead Marshes).

Since then, whilst working on different projects on site, we had begun to question the landmarks that we were so certain we had identified. A number of our members have been boldly going where no man has gone before to find the property boundaries to the north once more. They have returned exhausted and beaten. Either their orienteering skills are completely out of whack or the property is actually a whole lot larger than we thought.

No, "The Danelaw" is still 120 acres in total, but the landmarks that we thought were near the northern western boundary have turned out to be three quarters of the way towards the southern eastern boundary. If this is right, then the The Danelaw is actually 2-3 times larger than we may have pointed out to visitors on site.

Last weekend, using a more accurate GPS (~5m) we confirmed that our original landmarks were way off, that the property extends more then twice as far as we originally thought and that less than half of the property has been explored at all. As it stands there are 63 acres out of 120 that have not been visited by Danelaw or by any other of our visitors. The explorers have so far discovered new "islands and headlands" out into the wetlands that we previously did not know existed and that are much further away than we originally thought the property extended.

Closer to the Dunghaven Encampment, we have been using the GPS to mark the existing features and paths. Once again, these do not extend as far across the property as we first thought.

Click here to see the updated map of "The Danelaw".


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