When the Year 5 class at St. Peter's Church of England Primary School was asked by their teacher to write a report on prehistory, one of the pupils knew exactly what he wanted to write about. Alexander Yeo had read in his local paper about the Iron Age discoveries made by Southborough & High Brooms Amateur Archaeology Society. Deciding he wanted to do his report on SHAAS, Alex contacted the society via email with a list of interview questions. Robert Falvey, one of the archaeologists, replied to his enquiries with photographs of the furnace and Stone Age tools allowing Alex to write his report on the local Stone Age and Iron Age.
Alex signed off his interview with a request for society to come visit his class. Ms Fisher, Alex's teacher, was more than happy to find us a slot in her busy schedule leading up to Christmas. Simon Bamblett and Robert Falvey, of the outreach team, visited St. Peter's School early on a Monday morning with a handling collection which includes items from the Southborough Valley dating back 4,000 years. The presentation started with a group activity for the pupils. After an introduction to archaeology the class are set their first fun task. The pupils work together to solve a 3D jigsaw puzzle which mimics the conservation care given to ancient pottery found on archaeological excavations.
Objects found while excavating are used to build a picture of the Stone Age. Simon and Robert explained how tools are made from flint and passed around worked pieces of flint. The main focus of the talk was on the Iron Age as SHAAS had excavated a metal working furnace from this period. We learned previously that most children these days know all about the evolution of tool technology from playing the computer game Minecraft©. The game effectively represents the Three Age System by moving through stone, bronze and iron tool technologies. In the game players must collect types ore to forge into metal objects. Using Minecraft© allows us to explain this complex procedure while showing the real iron-rich stone and bloomery slag used by our ancestors.
The end of the session we invite the class up to take a closer look at all the objects we brought to show them. This is an opportunity for the pupils look closely at artefacts they might only ever see behind glass at a museum.