Amazing Viking Turf House Tour – Stunning Green Building!

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In this video we’re excited to share the re-created 1000-year-old Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. We visited the site last fall and had we really enjoyed learning more about the settlement, but also about the traditional construction techniques they used for the turf dwellings and workshops.

The turf houses are built with timber frames that are load bearing, and walls that are built with peat bricks that have been cut and dried from a nearby bog. Each wall actually has two layers of the bricks, with layer of gravel sandwiched in the middle to help drain any moisture before it infiltrates to the interior of the structure.

It’s incredible that the Vikings were able to build such beautiful and functional structures with limited building materials, and in such a harsh environment.

Another thing that we found really neat that didn’t have anything to do with the structures was the fact that the bog not only provided peat for building, but bog iron they could use to create nails and other hardware they needed to repair their ships.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to our longer, more in-depth video about an Icelandic turf house:

And here’s a link where you can learn more about the L’Anse aux Meadows historic Viking settlement in Newfoundland:

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


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Music & Song Credits: 
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

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22 Replies to “Amazing Viking Turf House Tour – Stunning Green Building!”

  1. Ms Mccoy

    Wonder if the schools are still teaching the kids that Columbus discovered North America ? Wonder how many American's know about this site in Newfoundland ?
    Wonder how many American's know where Newfoundland is or what it is ?
    Wonder why I am saying this ?
    Anyhow cool house thanks for uploading and explaining the construction

  2. Tom Pinion

    The layered wall design to block moisture and provide insulation is genius. I wonder how long it took them to figure it out? We’ll probably never know.

  3. RunFromHumanContacts

    People are trying to make earthbag and cob houses breathable yet wateeproof. Wouldnf doing thebthick walls with gravel in the middle do that?

  4. vikingø celtå

    genial. Muchas gracias por mostrar tan fabulosas casas nórdicas. Saludos desde Uruguay. Vikingø Celtå

  5. Jeremy Knop

    Two questions I have is of those that have a dugout construction as in when you step through the door to go inside the ground floor drops a few feet, how do they keep that from flooding during heavy rain? And also as far as the roof vent for the fire smoke to escape from when it's raining do they have some sort of hatch or cover to keep the water from coming through the vents and getting the inside of the house wet and muddy?

  6. Christoffer Nelson

    I hope you guys got to go just a few kms further North up the island – it's about the most beautiful and magical place I've ever been. I found these turf houses to be quite spooky, but the whole park and area is so incredibly peaceful. Time stops at L'Anse Aux.

  7. tinkmarshino

    why didn't you share some of that build technique.. that would have been more interesting than tell us what a nice time you had there.

  8. Bordi the one

    As a kid a grew up like this but inside the house we had a woodstove made out of mud or something. I will never go back to live like this. Believe it or not in some parts of the world people still live like this and it's a damn hard life.

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