On May 31st we held our celebration. Everyone was really excited and the Springfield community centre looked fantastic decorated with photos of the course and all the things that the learners had made.
Cllr Khadim Hussain, Lord Mayor of Bradford, came to present the certificates. He was very impressed by the achievements of the learners and the inclusive nature of the archaeology project. After the presentations he was able to chat with students HFT staff and WEA staff about their work.
As well as the mayor, MP Gerry Sutcliffe, friends and family and WEA staff, including the regional director, Fiona Parr attended the event.
Everyone was really sad that the project had finished but we hope to work with HFT again.
Session 12: The Dig
In order to give the learners the experience of archaeological excavation, this week we undertook a min-dig at Springfield. The inclement weather didn’t stop us excavating, as we made use of the cover of the Springfield poly tunnels, where we excavated one of the raised beds. I had previously seen pottery, clay pipe and brick in these beds and, although likely to be imported material, the excavation of these beds gave the learners a taste of the experience of excavation.
The learners where shown how to use trowels to peel back the layers of soil, carefully looking for objects as they undertook this activity.
The learners with their support worker David undertaking the excavation of the raised bed
We found some quite interesting objects in the soil, including clay pipe, pottery, brick, coal and surprisingly a piece of flint. All the learners collected a small assemblage of material and discussed what they thought it may be during the excavation.
Back in the classroom we washed and processed our finds. We even got the chance to wash some of our objects that we had collected as part of our 300 objects session.
We left the finds to dry for a while and then the learners were given the opportunity to share three of their objects with the rest of the class. David recorded the results on the white board.
Session 11: Dig Preparation
This week’s session was designed to introduce the learners to the methods of hand excavation with trowels and the identification of objects. We were lucky enough to have David and the Inclusive Archaeology Project Officer Victoria Beauchamp to help us. The learners had particularly enjoyed the eye spy at Bolling Hall so I based this session around the same principal. Rather than architectural features and furnishings, which the learners had to spot at Bolling, this time the learners had to find hidden objects in seed trays and try to identify what they were. The skills they learnt in this session would stand the learners in good stead for the dig that we will be undertaking next week.
I buried a range of objects from Lego, to blue and white pottery, and clay pipes. The learners were paired together and had to ‘excavate’ five trays of soil. When they found an object they placed it in the finds tray and recorded it on their worksheets. Learners such as M (Malcolme) then identified what the hidden object was from a range of pictures, for example the small piece of pottery was from a pot.
The learners really enjoyed this activity with both Ti and Tr ’s groups quickly excavating and identifying all their objects.
B spend a long time looking for a flint, which was tricky to find. He persevered and finally found it after some patient searching.
N and Mi had difficulty finding the marble and N said he didn’t think it was there. Even David tried to find the marble but to no avail.
After some very careful searching and using all my experience as an archaeologist, I finally helped them uncover the object! S was particularly interested in the oyster shell which he inspected in great detail with the help of Victoria.
We had great fun and the learners certainly gained valuable new skills that they can use next week. I wonder what interesting things we will find in the soil of Springfield?
Week 10: Kirkstall Abbey
This week the sun shone for our field trip to Kirkstall Abbey and we welcomed back Terry our support worker. The focus of the session was to look at the Abbey ruins to formulate an understanding of the remains and who would have lived there. The learners were also tasked with producing a drawing of the Abbey and a Monk.
We started from the Abbey House Museum and walked down the oval ramp, towards the entrance to the Abbey. I had been involved in the excavation of the site during the recent restoration works and we stopped to look at the reconstruction of one of the walls I had found.
Our starting point on our tour was at the new visitor centre which is housed in the former Reredorter (the communal latrine/toilet) of the Abbey. Here we looked at some of the objects that had been found during previous excavation of the Abbey and discussed what the reconstructed Monk was doing above our heads! It took a few guesses before Ti finally guessed the correct answer.
We then started exploring the amazing remains of the Abbey. M was particularly good at spotting the Monks on the display boards and Terry said that a monk may have looked a bit like Tr with similar haircut. Tr pointed to his head and all the learners thought this was very funny!
Looking at the blocked up windows and doors (which both T and M were very good at identifying) and the truncated remains of the western side of the Cellarium we discussed what had happened to the Abbey during its time in use. The blocked up windows represent modification of the Abbey, whilst the truncated walls are evidence of the Abbeys destruction and neglect following Henry VIII’s dissolution of Monasteries
The next area of the Abbey to explore was the Cloister and we talked about how the Monks would have used this space for exercise and reflection. Moving into the impressive remains of the Abbey Church both Ml and Ti said it was a church. When I asked the learners what would have happened in the Church M said praying.
We spent quite a long time exploring the grand surroundings of the Abbey Church and talking about the main road to Leeds that once went through the centre of the church. Again, I told the learners of the exciting discoveries that we found hidden beneath the floor of the Church when we excavated, including wheel ruts that perhaps related to the road. I also told the learners of the magnificent floor tiles that we found.
Moving into the Chapter House the learners were captivated by the model of the Abbey and both Tr and L showed me the model. All of the learners were interested stone coffins that are contained within this area of the Abbey and we talked about who might have been placed in them.
We then moved into the refectory (dining room) and looked at the fabulous floor tiles that are still visible. I got the learners to try and imagine what the whole room would have looked like when the whole floor was covered in tiles.
Back at Springfield the learners were tasked with producing a picture of the Abbey and a Monk.
N again showed us his talent in drawing by producing a very detailed and accurate picture of the Abbey.
The group overall produced some fabulous work.
Week 9: Bolling Hall
Today we started the first of our field trips, designed to inspire the learners to look at their local heritage. Bolling Hall museum suited the bill perfectly, being only a couple of miles from Springfield and central to the storey of Bradford’s history.
Thankfully, the rain stopped for our visit so we could explore both the grounds and interior of the hall.
Bolling hall is a hidden gem in Bradford and the learners certainly enjoyed exploring the hall and looking at how people lived in the past. We started the day by looking at the outside of the building and T and N were particularly good at finding the blocked doorways, when we look at the elevations of the hall. Ml and our support workers Sarah and Daniel were interested in the date stone above one of the blocked doors to try and work out the date.
We then went inside the hall, where the fabulous staff from the museum assisted us. The learners were tasked with exploring each room, looking at the objects that would provide clues to how the room had been used in the past. The learners also had also look at how these rooms differed from our modern houses.
We first looked at the kitchen and laundry rooms where M said that the cups were for tea. Together we worked out it was a kitchen and talked about how we would have cooked food over the fire. After exploring the Hall, Drawing Room and Dining Hall we then went to explore the upstairs. G said that the unusual looking bed in the red room was for sleeping and we talked about how it looked different to bedrooms today.
We then looked at the nursery where T spotted the teddy bears and B the train. Ml talked at length about the blackboard and how they were used in schools. We then explored the ghost room (we didn’t see the alleged ghost) and then upstairs in the oldest part of the hall, where the learners tried on helmets.
The learners then explored the bedrooms where both S and T recognised the bed. We looked at the garderobe and how people would have gone to the toilet in the past. L was particularly keen to explore this area of the room.
The civil war room was next and B got me to come and look at the coins in the case which he recognised from previous sessions.
Following lunch the learners had a Bolling Hall eye-spy to complete. T and M were superb at this activity, being very eager and easily identifying the objects I had selected for learners to discover. I got Ti to assist the other learners in identifying features that they were struggling to find.
I was really impressed by the learner’s ability to complete the eye spy and everybody said they had enjoyed their day exploring Bradford past.
Session 8: Where We Are!
This week was our last class-based session before we start our field trips. The first part of the session involved finishing off our posters, showcasing all the fabulous work that the learners have been undertaking over the course of the project.
In order to prepare for our trip to Bolling Hall next week, we looked at how Bradford has changed over time. Old photographs of the area were compared with those of modern Bradford and the learners had to spot the differences. B and L recognised streets in Bradford and all the learners spotted something that had changed. T noticed that there were cars in one photograph (the old picture) whereas there were no cars in the now pedestrianized shopping street of central Bradford. We talked about how different the cars looked. N recognised a phonebox that was not on an earlier photograph and everybody recognised the Town Hall and the new mirror pool. It looked a bit different a hundred years ago when horses, were the popular mode of transport. Ml said the clothes also looked different on the old photograph. Both B and L recognised the trolley bus and we talked about the differences with modern buses.
We then created out own record of how Springfield looks today. We talked about how people might use this record in the future to see what the area was like in 2013. The learners took it in turns to take photographs of different parts of the site. Phillipa, our support worker for this session, showed us areas that are destined to be changed in the near future so we made sure we got a record of them.
The learners are all really excited on going on the field trip to Bolling Hall next week. It should be a fun session, where we can investigate how people in Bradford lived in the past.
Session 7- Experimental Archaeology (Food)
After a break away, for holidays and a snow day, this week we looked at food; what people would have eaten in the past and how they would have procured it. The Springfield Shop was open for business, stocking modern food and Prehistoric flint tools. This was to introduce the learners to the concept that in the past you would have had to hunted and foraged for food, instead of visiting the local shop.
M re-joined the class and was on really good form, identifying that modern food could be bought from the supermarket. The class were really impressed with the reproduction flints that had been brought to show the learners what sort of tools people in the past used to hunt and prepare an animal.
We then ‘foraged’ around the grounds of Springfield, where we found food objects that could be found in a modern shop or would more typically been ‘hunted and gathered’. The group were split into two; those looking for modern food items (who had a supermarket carrier bag to collect their items) and those foraging for Prehistoric food (who collected their items in a wicker basket). T, L and T were particularly good at identifying food that could be bought from a shop today that which would have been foraged and hunted in the past.
We then looked at how different foods, such as bread, meat and butter and how it was made/prepared in the past. The fun bit of the session involved us attempting to make butter from cream. A sterilised jar was filled with cream and the learners took turns to shake the jar.
After some vigorous shaking the cream began to become solid, with the buttermilk separating. We were all really impressed by the results!
After 15 minutes the results were looking positive and we went to the Springfield kitchen where the buttermilk was drained off.
After washing the butter and another careful shake, we prepared bread and butter to go with Friday’s fish and chips! I had to admit it tasted great and I was really impressed with the results.
8/3/13 Springfield Hoard!
Although there was no official session this week the learners spent time decorating their pots. They look fantastic.
1/3/13 Session 6- Experimental Archaeology (Pottery)
This week we looked at how archaeologists use experiments to help them try to understand how people lived and worked in the past. The first part of the session introduced the learners to some of the experiments archaeologists undertake, such as rebuilding houses, making and firing metal objects and pottery and ‘knapping’ flint. Ti correctly identified the roundhouse and we talked about what it was made from and how it was different to houses that we live in today. Mc correctly identified the flints, seen in previous sessions and Tr did the action of a bow and arrow to show us how they would have been used.
We then looked at the main focus of the session, pottery. We looked at different ways pottery has been made in the past, including how the very earliest pots were made with pinching, coiling and slab techniques. Terry used a ceramic plant pot that the learners were familiar with to show of the soft clay, that was used to demonstrate the techniques, had turned hard and created a pot.
The different techniques were demonstrated to the learners so they would be able to choose from one of these techniques to make their own item of pottery later in the session. The learners then watched a short video which showed a modern potter making a replica of a Roman Amphorae on a wheel. Terry actually had a small replica of an Amphora ,which he showed to the learners and really brought the video to life.
The learners were then shown some items of pottery to give them some inspiration when they made their own pots. This included a replica puzzle jug. The learners were rightly puzzled to how it worked and what would happened if someone tried to drink out of it. Mc and Ti though that you might get poorly because it was dirty. Terry then stepped in to demonstrate to the learners how it worked, much to the amusement of all the learners!
We then had tea break where we celebrated some birthdays with a very yummy cake.
The second part of the session gave the learners the opportunity to choose a technique of making pottery; pinching, coiling or slab, and make their own pot. Most of the learners choose the pinching technique and Trr, Br and Mc were particularly good at this.
The learners made some fantastic pots, which have been left to dry and hopefully painted next week. We had some spare time and spare clay so we got the learners to roll small balls of clay which we then pierced with a hole and will hopefully make a necklace.
The learners rolling small beads to hopefully create a necklace once it is dry.
Before lunch we checked on the progress of our cress crop marks. The cress is growing and you can definitely see different areas where it is growing better than others so I have high hopes that we are going to get some really great results.
1/3/13 – Bones
Today we had a special visitor at Springfield….Billy Bones!! Session 5 saw us looking at bones and skeletons, with Billy being the star of the show.
The first part of the session saw us looking at a range of bones, their size and shape (compared to Billy), what part of the body they might have been from and what they belonged to (animal or human).
All the learners were fascinated with Billy bones and M did particularly well identifying the bones and guessing what they belonged to.
S also correctly identifying the horse backbone (vertebrae) to the picture of a horse, but the smaller bones proved a little trickier. M studied the hedgehog jaw (mandible) for some time, first thinking it was a fish. After some discussion and assistance from Terry, T correctly identified it as a hegehog!
We then looked at what archaeologist find when we excavate sites and what animals and people look like following burial. This included looking at human burial and the different ways people have been buried throughout time. T and L correctly identified graveyards and M said it was ‘were people go when they die’. Ml very quickly told us about the mummies and pyramids, when we looked at Egyptian burials.
The leaners were then given the opportunity to make their own burial, using skeletal parts and grave outlines. We did get some really fabulous results with Neil, B and T all producing great pieces of work.
We then nipped down to the poly tunnel to see how our crop mark experiments from Session 3 were getting on. The cress seems to be growing and in some trays there were obvious areas where the cress was growing better than in others. I have high hopes for the results we are going to get, so keep watching this space.
22/2/13- 300 objects
To start the session this week, the learners made posters with images from each of the sessions already undertaken. We put up the time spirals and added more pictures to the timeline, so the classroom is now looking really fabulous with all the learners work!
Despite the cold weather, we wrapped up warm and Terry took us on a woodland walk around Springfield.
Terry showed us some interesting areas where bricks could be seen protruding from the ground. From this area the learners collected bricks, pottery and even the remains of an ivy wreath that the learners make around Christmas. One of the learners collected a can which made an interesting discussion object when we got back to the classroom. This looks a really interesting area and Terry thinks it might be the remains of a pump house associated with the mines that once occupied the site. It may just be where we undertake the ‘Springfield Dig’ later in the year!
Continuing to an area of wood that is currently being maintained by the learners Brendan went to look for an object he had found whilst working the other day. After some careful searching he found what he was looking for to take back to the class.
After break the learners shared the objects they had collected with the rest of the group. Two of the learners who didn’t come along on the walk chose from a range of objects I had brought along, one chose a small rabbit ornament whilst another chose a replica axe (made of plastic).
Videos were made as each of the learner described their object and what it was made of. The learners then produced some nice pictures for their portfolios.
Before lunch we just hadtime to nip down to the ploy tunnel and see how our crop mark experiments were coming along. The cress seems to be sprouting so we are looking forward to seeing some fantastic results in the coming weeks.
Session 3 at Springfield saw the learners investigating how archaeologists find things. We started by looking at geophysics, a topic that slightly confused some of the learners (who are keen horticulturalists) as they thought some of the instruments used to collect data looked like lawnmowers! Trying to explain that some of the instruments are a bit like a lawnmower, with a computer that looks under the ground was quite tricky to explain. Terry thought of an excellent way of explaining the remains of a roundhouse shown to the leaners as a footprint that has been left behind, like the learners do when they walk in the snow. The leaners then completed some work sheets, which when coloured in showed the results of a geophysical survey. T and M were particularly good at this task. We then looked at pictures of what the results represented.
We then looked at crop marks and how things buried beneath the ground can be seen from the air. All the learners identified the aeroplane (in particular T ) and we talked about use flying over fields and taking pictures of the ground below. T and G spotted the darker areas that were the crop marks and M commented it looked like a rectangle. We talked about what the patterns might represent, and thought back the Session 2 when we looked at houses during different periods of time such as roundhouses.
We then moved onto the fun bit of the session; attempting to create our own crop marks. I have high hopes that we will get some excellent results given that the learners are used to growing plants at Springfield. The learners were given seed trays, stones, gravel and tubs to try and make their own archaeological site. I really liked how all the learners made different patterns in their trays with the materials. B made a roundhouse with the stones and a central pot (which represents a pit). N and L on the other hand made a rectangular patterns with the stones around the edge of the tray.
After filling their trays any gaps were filled with gravel. The tray was the covered with a layer of soil and the learners then sowed their crops of cress.
After good water, the trays were taken to propagate in one of the poly tunnels a Springfield. The learners have been tasked to water then at regular intervals during the week. Hopefully by next Friday we will have a crop of cress.
If this experiment works, the cress should grow taller where the learners placed the pot as this area was filled will soil and retain water, therefore assisting growth. Where the stone walls were built, the cress should grow shorter as there will be less water retained. Watch this space to see the results!
This week we welcomed two new learners to the project so now we have 11 in the class. The theme of today was timelines and chronology. The learners were introduced to different periods in British archaeology from the Stone Age through to the modern period. We looked at what sort of housing people would have lived in at different times, the objects they would have been using and what sort of evidence is left behind for the archaeologist to find. Again, I was really impressed by the learners ability to identify objects and how they differed from one period of time to another. One of the learners likes coins so we asked him to find a penny to show to the other learners what bronze looks like, when we talked about the Bronze Age. Terry got an axe that they use for gardening at Springfield to demonstrate to the learners that they had not changed much since the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The learners were particularly good at identifying Roman soldiers and one of the learners (T) said they were marching. S remembered the Roman coin shown to him in the last session and quickly identified it.
Things got quite interesting when we talked about the Vikings and some of the remains they have left behind, such as the contents of their toilets! We quickly moved on to the Medieval period when one of the new learners (M) identified a Castle and T reconstructed the Medieval archers, firing a bow and arrow.
Moving onto the post-medieval period most of the learners identified the clay pipes that they were shown from the previous session, as one of the artefacts that might be found from this period of time. We also looked at the mills and terraced housing that would have been built in Bradford during the industrial revolution. For the modern period all the learners joined in at identifying familiar objects such as CD’s, mobile phones and plastic pens.
The learners then had the opportunity to produce a timeline, onto which they had to place pictures of objects and real artefacts. For example we had a flint which the learners placed in the Stone Age and pictures of modern objects which had to be placed at the other end of the timeline. Whilst this was a tricky task, all the learners participated and managed to identify old from new.
To reinforce what we had covered in the class we played the dustbin game which all the learners loved!
We had prepared a wicker bin with ‘layers’ of differed coloured shredded paper within which were pictures of objects that were associated with that period in time. e.g. a lipstick for the modern period and a campfire for the Stone Age. The learners ‘excavated’ the layers finding objects and placing them on the timeline. We did get shredded paper everywhere but the learners really enjoyed peeling back the layers from the most recent to very old and discovering which things they might find. B and S particularly enjoyed this task.
M liked to stand out at the front and show the other learners what he had found. T commented what a good game it was!
I am really looking forward to this Fridays session when we will be investigating how archaeologists find things.
1/2/2013 What is archaeology?
Today was the first session for the HFT Digability group. Since our taster session in July the group have been on the look out for interesting finds in their garden. These provided the perfect ice breaker and prompted much discussion.
See Louise’s blog below about the session.