Digging into history

Ideas and inspiration across the curriculum

When the local history society gained funding for an excavation on the River Alde under the supervision of the County Archaeological Service, with the hope of finding Roman remains, our Year 4 pupils were able to take part.

While they were studying the Anglo-Saxons in the summer term, local historian Richard Newman came in to talk to the children and show them some of his archaeological finds which had been displayed in Aldeburgh's Moot Hall. In the first week of the autumn term, 15 Year 4 pupils took part in the Roman dig at nearby Hazelwood nature reserve. They were given a talk on site and watched finds being washed, sorted and labelled. They sieved earth to experience what it is like to be an archaeologist, and found pottery and flint. The most exciting find has been a Neolithic arrowhead. The enthusiasm of the local historians was transferred to the pupils.

The experience brought history to life at a personal level. The children appreciated how they could become part of history by finding relics from the past. They could relate more fully to Basil Brown's experience on finding the Sutton Hoo treasure, which they had visited during the previous term. This work developed co-operation, speaking and listening, and understanding of how people lived in the past, and it was kinaesthetic fun.

Linda Berry

Headteacher, Aldeburgh Primary School, Suffolk

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