A year at Archaeology Club – a week-by week account featuring lesson plans and inspiration for you to run your own club or inspire your own children – COMING SOON!
Last year, I ran an archaeology club at my children’s infant school. It was challenging and ever-so-slightly-mind-blasting and so much fun!
I’ve been inspired by experimental archaeology ever since coming across ESAMP East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Project) while I was studying for my Masters in Field Archaeology at the University of Sussex. From pottery making to round house construction via foraging and flint knapping, experimental archaeologists get to explore the results of archaeological excavation – in the hope of interpreting the behaviour and methodology – and in turn , the psychology of our ancient ancestors. It’s heady stuff. And it needs to be passed on to future generations.
Education is not just about curriculum. There are many, many ways to learn and many wonderful concepts to explore and many wonderful ways to learn them. Experimental archaeology is the perfect tool for ancestral inspiration.
The year at Archaeology Club was full of experimental fun and fun-fun, games and activities, cooking and den-building, story-writing, collaging and drawing, digging, metal-detecting and artefact identification.
The children were featured in the local paper – the Eastbourne Herald – when they took part in a Heritage Eastbourne Excavation at the site of a medieval dovecote in Motcombe Gardens, Old Town, Eastbourne.
We wanted to understand chronology – not the piecemeal, disjointed history taught in school – the chronology of the world as we know it – humankind in its place in the history of everything. So we explored the concept of the Big Bang and rode time-and-space-waves through to the formation of the solar system and planet earth and the evolution of cells and fish and reptiles and dinosaurs and mammals and birds.. and through extinctions and evolutions until we arrived at the ancestors of chimpanzees and humans. From there, we followed human evolution through to the evolution of homo sapiens, the Ice Ages and the Stone Ages, through cultural and material evolutions into the Bronze and Iron Ages – we glimpsed the Egyptians, Romans and Vikings and explored cave paintings, hunter-gathering and farming. We grew our own ancient wheat strains (Emmer and Einkorn) and invented our own pictographic languages.
Photo 1: Turning the soil over before planting Emmer, Einkorn and Modern Wheat for comparison – Archaeology Club Members.