Most little girls go through a horse phase. I went though a castles phase. I checked David Macaulay's Castle out from the library more times than I could count, and basically memorized it, and then I drew castles all over everything I could get my hands on. So I was very excited to learn that, in Burgundy, France, a team of archaeologists are building a 13th-century castle, using only 13th-century techniques. It's like my favorite book come to wonderful life.
The site for the castle, called Guédelon, was chosen in part because of its proximity to important raw materials: a pond, a forest, and an abandoned stone quarry are all nearby. At the construction site, more than 50 laborers, all in period clothes, cut timbers, carve stones, and even make tiles and rope using only tools and techniques available in the 13th century.
It's a slow process: the construction, which began in 1997, isn't expected to be complete until 2020. But until then, if you're lucky enough to be in France, you can pop by the site, which is open to tourists from March until October, and take a step back in time.