This week in lab, we reconstructed a Viking-era tent using local aspen and traditional tools, with help from expert Maeve Gathje.

This was a difficult lab to gather data from. That being said I was able to record how much time it took to complete certain steps in the process of preparing the wood. Firstly, I was able to estimate that it took approximately 30 minutes to debark a tree 342 cm long with a diameter of roughly 10 cm. Multiplying the diameter times pi to get the circumference, and multiplying the circumference by 342, we know the surface area of the tree to be around 10,900 sq. cm. Removing 10,900 sq. cm of bark in 30 minutes suggests a rate of bark removal of around 363 sq. cm per minute. Admittedly, this is an extremely slow rate, however it is important to consider the time spent standing up, rotating and sliding the tree through the shave horse once the bark had been removed in one section. This was a pretty awkward procedure, especially with such long trees. Also, since the 30 minutes of debarking included multiple people taking turns at the shave horse, we may have lost some time swapping people out, socializing, etc.

I also recorded the dimensions of the tent once it was erected. The flat base (parallel to the ground) of the tent was 321 cm long and 255 cm wide. The internal height of the tent at its tallest point was 194 cm. The hypotenuse (the height of the walls of the tent from base to apex) was 235 cm. This means that a tarp, canvas, or leather covering for this tent would need to be at least 321x235x2 or 150,870 sq. cm or 162 sq. ft.

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