Thursday, May 01, 2014

An Experimental Archaeology Experience

The evening of April 26,  2014 I had my reconstruction of a medieval hoop-spread pavilion set up at Marietta Mansion in Glenn Dale MD for a military history timeline event. The ground was soggy and a thunderstorm blew through, late on the 26th or early on the 27th.

One member of our group was on site. He heard but did not see the tent fail.  Examining the scene afterwards, it appears that the guy and wall stakes pulled out of the ground on the windward side, the tent center pole left the ground, and the tent blew downwind until checked by the remaining guy and wall stakes on the leeward side.  The tent roof landed with the inside facing upwards. In the second and third photo above, you can see the circular mat in the background that was in the center of the pavilion before it was blown down. Aside from removing the tent pole the pavilion is where it landed.

An adjacent rope-spread pavilion of about the same size survived intact. I attribute the difference to the rope spread pavilion using at least twice as many guy ropes staked down over a broader footprint, the hoop spread pavilion perhaps being more vulnerable to updrafts, and my own failure to stake the tent down as deeply as possible.

I seem to have reproduced a not uncommon failure mode for this kind of tent.

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