Doncaster Deaf group

Have a look in Student experiences to see a report by David about what the course has meant to him.

Week 1 we looked at timelines and devised our own set of signs for different time periods.

Signs for different time periods

Signs for different time periods

Last week we looked at Prehistoric sites around Doncaster and tried our hand at using a flint blade, tablet weaving and pottery. Thankfully we had a volunteer, Georgiana on hand with a camera to capture our efforts.

Working with the interpreter

Working with the interpreter (Picture: Georgina Brown)



Using the creases in the paper to create art, just as in the past the anomalies in the cave walls were used. (Picture: Georgina Brown)


Making coil pots (Picture: Georgina Brown)


Having a go at tablet weaving (Picture: Georgina Brown)


In Week 3 the students learnt all about Roman Doncaster with tutor Sarah Holland. They visited Doncaster museum to look at the roman artefacts and had a go at drawing them. On the way to the museum they visited the remaining part of the Roman fort.


The remains of the roman fort



Drawing roman pottery


Week 4 the group looked at Georgian and Victorian Doncaster and talked about the race course and the minster. The group looked at trade directories to try and find the most unusual trades carried on. We discovered a cutler and confectioner, a cap maker to the Prince of Wales and discussed old trades such as victualler and whitesmith. We also got used to reading old print where f and s look very similar.

In the afternoon session we had an amazing tour of Doncaster Minster and got to find out about the symbolism in the church, the way it is being restored, the organ and the masons mark ‘ a caterpillar’.  The group were really keen to spend longer here as they rarely get the chance to ask questions. They certainly made full use of the interpreter today.

Students got the chance to see the view from the pulpit.

Week 5: Bones

We were very lucky to have Lizzie Wright from the University of Sheffield come to explain all about animal bones and in particular sheep bones. The learners were fascinated by the shapes of the and how they all fitted together. We also had great fun trying to guess which skull belonged to each animal and I learned a lot of new sign language for each one.

What is it?

What is it?

Why does it need big teeth? What does it say about its diet?

Why does it need big teeth? What does it say about its diet?

Where does that bone go?

Where does that bone go?

The completed Sheep

The completed Sheep


Week 6: Battlefields and out objects

A few members of the group have an interest in the history of war and had requested a session that looked at local sites and what archaeologists find. We talked about the similarities of wars through the ages, a mass grave from Talheim dated 5000Bc and a mass grave from Iraq in 2006 did not look very different.

We talked about the race course in Doncaster being used as an airfield and about our visit to the POW camp at Hickleton latter in the course as well as Redmires training camp and other remnants of war such as Bunkers, Pill boxes and wreak sites.

We also looked forward to our field activities and talked about what the group expected to discover and why field visits are important. “To make memories” to “To find our about our past so we can explain to our children”, It creates a visual experience that gives you a much better feeling of the past than looking at pictures”.


After lunch we looked at the objects the students had brought and had a great discussion about what it said about them. A toy collector, clown worshipper, people with families, possible occupations such as a model or drinks salesman. A clever person who cleans their teeth or an archaeologists who needs help with maths! This is our display.

The groups exhibition

The groups exhibition (Picture: Georgina Brown)


Field Visits

Our first visit was to to Conisbrough Castle. The group were keen to find out about the history of the castle and who had live there. The new exhibition centre provided us with all the information we needed with the added bonus of being able to see some of the finds from the castle.

We then explored the remaining buildings and the keep. The group were very observant in spotting features such as the latrines and the corbels that once held the roof. Inside the Chapel and the garderobes impressed the group as did the view from the keep. We could even see Doncaster Minster.

A few spots of rain didn't dampen our spirts.

A few spots of rain didn’t dampen our spirts.

Roche Abbey caused a lot of discussion. The deaf group, used to using their visual senses much more spotted the phasing of the building much more readily than other groups. Having looked round the site we then tested the theory that the diagonal of the cloister was the measurement used to create the nave of the church in medieval monasteries. It was spot on. We then discussed the maths involved in the calculations and how the architects of the monestry understood this. Once again we were lucky to have our volunteer Georgina to take the pictures.

Discussing features in chancel wall

Discussing features in chancel wall (Picture: Georgina Brown)

How can archaeologists use molehills?

How can archaeologists use molehills? (Picture:Georgina Brown)

The third week saw the group learn how to take levels around the church at Hickleton. Elmet Archaeology provided this training and explained how the bench mark system worked.  This was a perfect use of sign language as we communicated over long distances with each other. It was also a chance for the group to teach me some BSL numbers.

20140703_112052 20140703_115923 20140703_115938 20140703_113118 20140703_112132 20140703_111817 20140703_120006 20140703_112943 20140703_120109 20140703_115854 20140703_120158 20140703_112148 20140703_112943(1)

Our final visit was to Wentworth Woodhouse. We arrived early and looked around the stable block. Having heard about the green doors we then went into the village and noticed nearly all the houses still have their doors anted green. We then looked in the graveyard of the old church and noticed ho many children had died during the wary 19th century.

Visiting Wentworth

Visiting Wentworth

The group were presented with their certificates in the Marble Hall.

This group have been so much fun to work with. We have had lively debates about all sorts off topics and they have been very generous in taking the time to teach me a few basic signs. We are hoping to secure mrs funds to work with this group again in the future.





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