Not sure if it fit well this website, history.SE, or if it's off-topic, but I have a simple question:

Can we build a medieval castle, with the same methods as they used at that time, in 21 century? Do we have enough knowledge, or are some knowledge lost? is it even legal?

  • $\begingroup$ There aren't many "big" stone masons anymore, and you'd have to ask History.SE how they cut, moved and lifted the blocks, plus the interior designs. etc. The architecture, design and building techniques were almost certainly transmitted via apprenticeships. Was it ever written down? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 17 '18 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ A simple google search would've saved you the time of opening the thread and then waiting for answers. Generally, doing some amount of research and honest attempt of solving an issue yourself is strongly encouraged on this SE as far as I am aware. But I need to ask this at some point in the meta because I'm not sure this is true anymore. Anyhow, if you want to know if something is legal, you need to specify where and a lot more that you think could make it illegal $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Aug 17 '18 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ How is this question not about world-building? I would agree that the question could use some elaboration but we have many questions about building materials and techniques this seems no different. A quick google search will not answer questions of legality (this should be explained better in the question) nor does a quick google search explain whether or not some skills have been lost. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 19 '18 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ Holy Chicken, welcome to the site. When you have a chance check out the help center and tour particularly this bit If you edit your question to include context and point out what you have already learned via research we can get this reopened. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 19 '18 at 3:06

Not only you can, but it is currently done: Guédelon


Guédelon Castle is the perfect example to prove you can do it. It's both an experimental archaeology project, and a touristic place.

The goal is to build a 13th-century medieval castle, using only medieval technique. even ressources are made with medieval technology, with wood coming from the forest and stone coming from a quarry. Some of the knowledge is lost, but that's the goal of experimental technology: try to find the lost thing by doing it with the same constraints they had. The project started in 1997, and will probably end circa 2030.

Currently, seigniorial dweling and chapel is ended, while the walls are almost ended. Aside the castle, there is also a village with a wattermill, a smithy, and lot of other building for several crafters such as potters, ropemaker, carpenter... All of them work with medieval technique, at the begining with only theorical knowledge, and now with practical ones, as they experiment a lot.

This is a 30 year project, and by itself, proven to be possible. However, it is possible thanks to Michel Guyot, who bough several castles in order to restore them. Due to scientific, historical craft interest, lots of people work here for free. Also, lots of earnings come from both tourist and regional/governmental funds. Therefore, if you want to make a castle only for yourself, as a private project, it will be much more costly.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how advertising is restricted in Worldbuilding.SE, but if you visit Burgundy, in France, and like medieval period, this is a really great place to visit. I visit it several times as a child, always awesome. The best thing is that it advance year after year, so not only it isn't a problem to visit it twice in a lifetime, but it is even encouraged $\endgroup$ – Kepotx Aug 17 '18 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ Early medieval castles were often motte and bailey types where a big enclosing ditch was made, the dirt from the ditch was piled into a flat topped conical hill, and a wooden palisade was made around the inner side of the ditch to enclose the living area. Another palisade was made around the top of the conical hill and a tall tower was built in the center of the hill top. Wooden building were built inside both the palisades. And the wooden parts were often replaced with stone decades or centuries later. Some castles were also made of brick. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Aug 18 '18 at 1:22

We are actually building a medieval castle with medieval technology:

Guédelon Castle

Guédelon Castle is a newly built castle construction project located in Treigny, France. The object of the project is to build a castle using only the techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. When completed in the 2020s, it should be an authentic recreation of a 13th-century medieval castle. (Wikipedia)

Guédelon Castle in August 2015

This is a typical project of experimental archaeology:

In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France. (Wikipedia)

The project aims to test the historians' and engineers' understanding of medieval construction techniques. When completed the castle will serve as a great tourist attraction; since actual medieval castles are historical monuments, tourist access is limited: in this neo-medieval castle there will be much more freedom of movement.


Yes you can, but it would be expensive and may not meet modern building codes.

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    $\begingroup$ and medieval building methods will violate modern worker-safety codes :) $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Aug 17 '18 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ Though volunteers and researchers have been building this one. It is possible, just very time consuming. tiphero.com/french-medieval-castle $\endgroup$ – SEK1977 Aug 17 '18 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ but i doubt any of the knowledge is lost. Construction methods are pretty easy to reverse-engineer. $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Aug 17 '18 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Clay, generally speaking one line answers are frowned upon. Answers should address the question and provide support. Please consider editing in some information to support your claim or the answer could be deleted. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 17 '18 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ We've lost plenty of knowledge in just the last 70 years: for example, how to create the thick armor belts of American WW2 battleships. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 17 '18 at 19:22

yes, we can, there are some minor details that are likely to have been lost, more so for wooden castles since the wood of course decomposes much faster than stone but for the most part researchers do know medieval building techniques.
There is even a modern day recreation project in France called Guedelon that is only using medieval techniques.


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