Within the Digability Project each student was asked to bring an object that might represent them in the future. Here are some of the objects students brought in. We discussed if the objects would survive, what interpretation an archaeologist might come up with and then we had a go at recording the object by photographing, drawing or describing it on film.
The last classroom session at Addison was themed around objects special to the learners. Their objects and the records they made of them will form part of the 300 Objects Project. Learners chose to bring-in and talk about objects such as shells they had collected on the beach or photographs of people special to them. Some learners chose objects they had learned about and had the opportunity to handle in the classroom. The learners then made a written record of their object, recording specific details about them, as an archaeologist would with the artefacts they found.
What a fabulous session we had with our 11 objects. The session really highlighted to staff and learners alike how much progress the learners had made over the past 9 weeks.
Everyone put their recording skills to the test by drawing and photographing their chosen objects. Some were brought from home while others chose from the object we had found right back in week 1 when we did some fieldwalking across some recently demolished terraced housing.
The session was introduced by a discussion on what might survive in the archaeological record. Objects such as pottery, brick, tile and glass are likely to survive in most archaeological conditions unlike wood and textiles which prefer very dry or very wet environments. The group also decided that paper objects were very unlikely to survive unless they were stored inside another object so that water was kept away from them. This made everyone think about family photos such as that brought in by one learner and how photographs are records of passing memories that may survive only a few generations. Plastic objects also caused much controversy as modern society is very unsure of how long plastic will take to break down. Only our descendants will know.
The session concluded by all the learners videoing their thoughts about the objects they had brought with them. This demonstrated how they had all grown in the confidence to express themselves about objects that will form the modern archaeological record.
The Sheffield group had a great session recording their objects. The session opened by each learner having to ask another about their objects and together they recorded what the object was made of, the colour, the purpose of the object and who the object belonged to. One learner had brought First World War medals from a family member. The tutor and project worker were able to find out more information about these on the internet using the medal records at the National Archives website and pass the information to the learner the following week. Another learner brought his snooker cue and another her favourite bag.
Having discussed the objects everyone then drew their objects, and WEA photographer Russell Wall photographed the objects and filmed the learners describing them.