5th September 2003 at 01:00
Although about prehistory rather than history, this article pinpoints a key issue in all historical studies - how do we know? The reconstructions bring prehistoric societies vividly to life through a combination of evidence, judgment and invention.

* Pupils at key stage 2 would certainly enjoy looking into this process.

They could be given a series of statements and asked to research the article to see whether these are true or false (eg "people crouched to avoid the wind" - true or false?).

* The evidence that we leave behind could also engage pupils at KS2 and KS3 in a discussion about what they would leave for future archaeologists to find, and what these archaeologists would make of everyday objects. For example, would a football be interpreted as a toy or as a device for storing water? Such discussions can introduce pupils to the problem of interpreting evidence, that it can be plausibly interpreted in different ways, and that historical reconstructions are "best fit" scenarios based on how a range of different pieces of evidence fit together.

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