Archaeology Days

14th January 2019

Our second visitor this week was Kat from the Archaeological department at Cambridge University as part of their schools outreach programme. Kat spent two days with us and worked with each class for half a day to help develop the children’s understanding of how you can find out about the past from what you find in the ground. The children looked at the tools that archaeologist use and the different types of objects they have found. Kat explained to the children that the further down you go in the ground, the older the soil is. So when archaeologists find things in the soil, the items that are further down are older than those found nearer to the surface. She had arranged seven trays in a column to represent layers in the earth so that the top tray had the most recent items and as you went down the column the ‘treasure’ got older. She let the children rummage through the trays to find hidden treasure; there were a few coins but most of the items were broken pots, stones, bones and bits of metal and plastic! The final tray had stones from the Stone Age and there were flint stones and a stone that had been used to heat up liquid/food called a fire stone which was cracked all over.

The children then had several hands on activities that included sorting through and identifying pieces of pottery through the ages from prehistoric to medieval periods and looking at and comparing old and current maps of Barrington and locating buildings on maps. The children were also set the task of identifying different animals from their skulls and had the opportunity try digging in the ‘midden’ – this is essentially going through an ancient rubbish dump to see what you can find about the way people lived from what they throw away! Kat had simulated this by hiding different seeds in a pot of gooey playdough – and the children loved it!