Wattle You Build Next?
Art, Math, Social Studies
The student will:
Wattle You Build Next? student handout
Wire basket from the garden center or other framework material
4 inch grapevine wreath to be taken apart or collected vines
8 inch square of foam board or thick cardboard for a base
Mud or clay
4 inch squares of green printer paper or construction paper
Glue gun or craft glue
Scissors and stapler
Must Know Info:
|This activity works well in conjunction with the Home, Home on the
Ridge activity of building a full sized palmetto hut. Students may work
in cooperative groups to build the wattle and daub model from this
activity while a few students at a time work on the palmetto building.|
|Although many students may think that all Indians lived in teepees, this is not true of the Louisiana Native Americans. The Poverty Point people used the natural resources available to them to construct their dwellings. Some of these natural resources were the trees, palmetto
branches, and the soil around them. These same resources are still available today in many places throughout Louisiana. At the present time, no archaeological remains of houses have been found at the Poverty Point site. This may be due to the extensive amount of farming
which has taken place at the site.
|Other Poverty Point Culture sites exist throughout Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas. The remains of dwellings have been found
at one of these sites. Post holes were excavated at Jaketown, a
Poverty Point Culture site in Mississippi. Archaeologists recognized the
post holes by the different color of the soil. The post holes at Jaketown
formed a circular shape which was about 12 to 14 feet in diameter.
This indicated that the building there was about 12 to 14 feet across.|
Archaeologists think that the Poverty Point people probably lived on
top of the six concentric ridges at the site. These C-shaped, hill-like ridges are thought to have been about twice as high when they
were constructed. Today, they have been worn down to heights of one
to six feet due to erosion and years of plowing.
|A full sized wattle and daub hut would use the same construction techniques as the palmetto hut described in the Home, Home on the
Ridge activity. However, in a wattle and daub hut the wall would be made by weaving limbs, grass, or moss into the uprights of the house before caking it with mud. The mud covering is called daub. It may
help your students discriminate between wattle and daub if you remind them of the dirt dauber, an familiar insect, who builds her nest with mud. The mud daub would have insulated the house and kept the people living there warm during the winter. The roof of a wattle and daub house would most likely have been made of either
woven grass mats or palmetto leaves.|
The model wattle and daub hut is being constructed from a wire flower basket which is usually sold to hold a moss lining. This works well because it provides the basic framework needed for the model hut, but allows students the opportunity to weave grapevine wattle between the wires. Other purchased frameworks such as Easter baskets or colanders will work. Students may also create a framework using flexible willow branches or vines. Clay or real mud may be used for the daub. The roof of the model is made from green paper folded into palmetto leaves.
|1. If your class is not working on the Home, Home on the Ridge
activity in conjunction with this one, the following introduction will be
2. Ask students what kinds of homes were built by Louisiana Native Americans. (No teepees) Ask students what kinds of natural resources would have been available to the Louisiana Indians to use as building materials. (Trees, palmetto, grasses, soil.) Ask students to think of natural resources they could find today to build a survival hut in the Louisiana woods. (Same resources - palmetto, trees, soil, grasses)
3. Tell students that no archaeological remains of houses have been found at the Poverty Point site. This may be due to the extensive amount of farming which took place at the site. However, post holes have been found at another Poverty Point era site at Jaketown, Mississippi. The post molds at Jaketown form a circular shape which is about 12 to 14 feet in diameter.
4. Place students in cooperative groups and distribute materials and Wattle You Build Next? handouts. Review directions given on handout for constructing the model of a wattle and daub hut.
5. Monitor student progress. Some students may want to make a roof from woven grass mats. Encourage them to develop a technique of weaving thatch and to research thatched roofs.