In The arts, culture & heritage, Multiple districts

Project: Community hands-on archaeology
Grant: £4,200
Fund: Kop Hill Climb

This grant has enabled Bucks County Museum Trust to work with an archaeological consultant, plus a project team from the Museum to create a whole day workshop for schools to learn about four prehistory topic areas.

The workshops included a replica archaeological dig, meeting a real archaeologist, handling prehistoric finds, creating cave art and experimental archaeology making fire using fire bows and other early techniques.

They also used the research and materials to create a Community Archaeology Day on 22 July at Halton Resource Centre for community members from charities and support organisations in Aylesbury. The event offered the participants a wonderful engaging day of exploring how archaeologists dig up finds, handling a range of real finds thousands of years old, making a huge cave art painting, trying out fire making techniques and participating in weapons and re-enactment sessions, including prehistory archery. The day ended with the chance for parents to join the Roman Army with shields and for children to create slings and grape weapons and participate in a mock battle to end the event.

This event brought together families from a range of different backgrounds, including a Muslim family who said they don’t normally come to museums, a foster family whose 7 year old has trouble engaging with others but on the day was completely enthralled and interacted with lots of visitors, and a family from Home Start who thoroughly enjoyed trying all of the activities.

The grant has benefitted approximately 280 people from the local Aylesbury community (including at least 120 of whom are school children from two of the most deprived wards in Aylesbury, who have been either fully or partially funded by the grant.)

Feedback from a teacher at Halton School:

All of the children loved the day and I feel that they learnt a huge amount and actually started to imagine what people’s lives would have been like in history, rather than just listening to (and probably not really believing) what I could have told them in the classroom. All of the adult helpers appreciated having the expertise on hand and that they didn’t have to tell the children information that they weren’t really sure of themselves. You covered a week of Curriculum work in three hours with more impact than we could ever have in our classroom!

Feedback from an attendee:

My favourite bit was when we dug up the bones, pottery and coins. It really was the best day, thank you.