Below are some fantasic student reports about the experiences of students:
JLs account of a session
Doncaster Deaf Group
Sheffield Y2 Group
Keep scrolling down to find them.
JL’s musings about a session Spring 14
Got up to go to the Rivelin Valley. Have been in pain most of the night, haven’t slept well, although I am in no pain, I am tired and I just don’t feel like it.
But there is no real reason why I shouldn’t go. I know if I don’t I will be in a low mood all day for not turning up when I said I would. If I had planned to do this walk alone I wouldn’t have gone.
So I had yet another word with myself, packed up some snap and enough pain killers to make a donkey laugh, and set off to meet Nicola in Rotherham bus station.
( Skill 1: Commitment and loyalty to people you respect.
Skill 2: Creating tools and using your experience to create a positive state of mind
Skill 3: And throw your soul at every open door ( Adele))
As usual Nicola ( brought good weather, we travelled up to the old post office on the Rivelin Road on public transport. I’ve not been on a bus for 30 years. I really enjoyed it, ( as opposed to driving). It was clean and modern, easy to use, and you get to relax and look out of the window and see things you miss when driving.
(Skill 4: Encouraged to use public Transport)
On this occasion the WEA had paid for my bus fare which I was grateful for, however, I found out by talking to other people int he group that hd a travel pass, that I might be entitled to one. I have since applied for and got a travel pass.
(Skill 5: Developing and sharing life skills- learning from others how to make life easier & cheaper)
A gem of a walk. I’ve done a lot of walking in my time and seen some beautiful places but at this particular time of year on this particular day, a week or two either way it would have looked different, has got to be in my top 10, a real gem and right under my nose. The Rivelin was on parade and it passed with flying colours.
We started at the old post office on the Rivelin Road and followed the small river in the bottom of the valley back towards Sheffield, spread along the length of the valley are pretty stone walls and partial buildings where grinding stones used to be spinning. Nicola told us how grinders and their families would transform the blanks that were produced in Sheffield into knives and cutlery. We found out about the danger sod the job and the industrial diseases the grinders suffered as well.
What have I gained from the course?
It has been a pleasure seeing and helping people less fortunate to move on, or at least have a good day and has created some long standing friendships.
I have met really interesting people.
Learnt not to listen to G when he jumps into a hedge and comes out with a plant saying you can eat it. ( He was right, I did, but you get belly ache!)
The course has led me on to other things, activities and courses.
I particularly liked the positive attitude the tutor brings to the group. It rubs off on me. I feel better about myself as a result of attending the courses.
So although the archaeology is extremely interesting and it’s what binds us together as a group, we are learning stuff far more important than archaeology. A special day and all I had to do was put on my boots and turn up.
JL – celebration event York.
WEA Archaeology for Doncaster Deaf Group – David Leach
Last February Steve Gibson, WEA staff, informed me about WEA archaeology course taster at Sheffield as he knew that I am interested in history. So I went and there were good number of deaf people who were looking forward to 10 weeks course in May. Two tutors, Victoria and Sarah explained via British Sign Language / English interpreters to us about what to expect from the course and basic archaeology. I think few of us expected to be a budding Phil Harding or Francis Pryor of Time Team right away!
Anyway to cut the story short, I signed up and decided to join Doncaster Deaf Group because it is easier for me as it is nearer and better access for me as I have a walking disability. On first day of the course I met the students who are much younger than me. They knew each other though their time at deaf school and College in Doncaster. I felt like father or grandfather! But we got on wonderfully as we have a common bond in communication through British Sign Language. Victoria and Sarah are very good tutors and gave plenty of visual lessons. Laura our Interpreter was humor
ous and sometimes learning new signs from us for archaeology jargon. The View building where the classes were held is very apt for archaeology lessons because it was built in 19th Century for industrial use.
The first 6 weeks were mainly focused on theoretical archaeology, its timescales, historical happenings and artefacts. We learned about stones, bones, flint stones, pottery and metalwork, etc. We had a go at pottery which was created in roughly the same way as during the Beaker period. We visited Doncaster Museum which gave us a good insight of prehistoric, Roman and Saxon periods. We went to Doncaster Minster to see the Roman wall and inside the church. One student exclaimed that he has lived in Doncaster all his life and never knew about the Roman wall!
Someone who was an expert on animal bones gave an interesting lesson on bones, especially sheep. She brought some animal skulls for us to identify which can be misleading due to shape of bones rather than outer skins / furs. A few of us correctly identified a turtle skull which came a surprise to the bone tutor because she said most hearing people fail to do this. Perhaps we, deaf people, are more observant to visual outlines.
In our last week of theoretical lesson, we brought our personal objects and discussed what would have happened to them over time. Then we debated about future archaeology and what people in 500 or 1 thousand years time will think of us and the objects. Someone said perhaps they will think the current coloured plastic milk tops are part of a “draughts” game. It was very interesting view. The question is will they think like that? Perhaps they will be more forward thinking people, or less? Who knows?
During the next four weeks we were on field trips to learn about historical buildings and their uses. Firstly we visited Conisbrough Castle which has been restored and made safe in some parts recently. Victoria told us the history of the castle, which was very interesting and the background of Conisbrough – King Harold before 1066 owned the lands. We saw some artefacts in a small museum. She showed us parts of the castle and its uses. The keep was hardly used and very important people from time to time stayed there for their protection. Parts of wall were hastily built and on a poor foundation and fell down though neglect few hundreds years later.
Victoria showed us where the archaeology digs have been. Some of us remarked there were several latrines in the keep and in the castle wall and we wondered about the emptying of soils and where they went to. Victoria showed us a latrine pit which was deep enough!
On our second site visit we went to Roche Abbey. It was lovely day and good to see the beautiful greenery surroundings around the ruins. Victoria outlined Roche Abbey history and its monks. We were able to identify some parts of the abbey with the photographs as part of our lesson. We used a tape to measure the layout and the proportions of buildings. We considered that in 12th Century the builders, without electronic equipment and technology, were remarkable working out mathematics.
Victoria told us that at present archaeology digs are not allowed on site to prevent further damage unless there are molehills appearing. Some archaeologists are waiting with spades or trowels when the molehills occur!
On third site visit we were supposed to visit Second World War Prison of War camp site at Hickleton for fieldwork archaeology, but there are health and safely issues over some wasp nests around the site. So Victoria decided we visited Saxon church nearby. We were met by Elmet Archaeology Group. Christine, a leader, explained about history of church which was interesting. The original Saxon building was added and enlarged during Medieval times. After Black Death period there was a shortage of skilled craftsmen to build or repair the damaged parts of church, so they learned to build Roman arches rather than Gothic style because it was easier to do and also learning curve for them.
Alex took over ad told us about a benchmark on church wall. The benchmark is a guide for measuring height of land from sea level at Newlyn, Cornwall which was created in 19th Century for survey of the height of whole UK land. He showed us workings of theodolite equipment (dumpy level measurement). We measured the land around the church and returned to a starting point (benchmark) and we found we were out by 10cm which was good start!
The final site visit will be at Wentworth, but I am not able to go as I had already booked my summer holiday.
I would like to say thank you to Victoria Beauchamp for all her enjoyable and humorous tutorials, not forgetting other tutors: Sarah applying research by demonstrating practical ceramics and weaving, and the expert on bone research. We have learnt and understood about archaeology even it is basic foundation. We give our thanks to Laura for her interpreting, Steve and Trish for their mentorship to one student who has visual impairment. We are also interested in the outcome of Georgina Brown’s professional photography.
Too often deaf BSL using people are left out in the educational environment, even they want to learn. The main education system is not geared for deaf people unless there are very good educational interpreters who are thin on the ground.
We want to express heartfelt gratitude to Yorkshire and Humbershire WEA, and to Victoria and Steve who helped to make it possible for deaf people to broaden their knowledge in learning about archaeology as well other subjects.
Deaf Student (3rd July 2014)
WEA Catcliffe Group – David De La Rosa
ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRIP 03/06/2014 TO WENTWORTH CASTLE
Wentworth Castle is at Stainborough near Barnsley and was originally called Stainborough Hall and was owned by Thomas Wentworth. In 1721 he began to build a mock Castle and on its completion in 1731 renamed the House and Estate Wentworth Castle. The House is now used as a Training College with rooms for students on 2 day courses to stay. We went inside the House where we had Coffee and met our Guide who took us outside to see a statue of the owner dressed as a Roman.
We looked around the outside of the Building noting the ornate carvings in the stonework.
We walked around the side and were able to see more ornate carvings and also columns.
We went inside for lunch in the Refectory which had some beautiful paintings on the ceilings and we learned that they had been painted by the same artist who had painted the ceilings of Chatsworth House.
After lunch we were taken up the stairs and shown the beautiful painted ceiling above the staircase.
We were shown around some of the rooms upstairs which were being used by the college and one very long room which had been the Picture Gallery was now the College Library.
Coming back downstairs we were taken outside to see the 19th century Conservatory which had been refurbished last year. It contained various plants including a Lily in bloom and a statue called kneeling Slave.
Archaeological Trip 17/06/2014 to Silkstone & Silverwood
We visited the Scout Camp in Silverwood on a dry but cool day.
This was originally the site of a 1st World War Barracks and Training ground for The 13/14th Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment from December 1915 prior to the Battle of The Somme 01/07/1916. Over a thousand men were stationed here and we were shown the plinths of the huts in which they were housed. We were also shown the concrete floors of the Latrines & washhouse. We next walked into the woods and were shown trenches dug and used for training by the Soldiers. Fragments of 1st World War Grenades had been found indicating they had been used in training.
Leaving the site we drove the short distance to Pothouse Hamlet, a unique historic Hamlet which is built of stone & has many amenities including a Garden centre and The Potting Shed Coffee shop and Bistro where we had refreshments.
After refreshments we walked the short distance All Saints and St. James The Greater Church in Silkstone Village. A Church has stood on this sight since 1066 and the present Grade 1 structure has 12th century foundations remodelled IN THE 14TH Century. We looked around the old graves and the Husker monument to the Silkstone disaster of July 4 1838 when a freak storm flooded a mine killing 26 children.
We went inside the Church and had a guided tour all around. There was originally a Tower between the Nave and Chancel but in 1479 it was decreed unsafe and in 1495 rebuilt at the West end. The church has some lovely coloured glass windows on of which is dedicated to the Silkstone disaster and contains the names and ages of all the children who lost their lives.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRIP 24/06/2014
TO WINCOBANK IRON AGE FORT AND TINSLEY MANOR SCHOOL EXCAVATIONS
On a bright and sunny morning we departed to Wincobank where we were met by a Guide who gave us an explanation about the origins of the Fort. It was built about 500BC when the area was occupied by the Brigantine Tribe. We then walked along a path by the earthwork mistakenly called Roman Ridge thought to have been built between 450-600 AD after the collapse of the Roman Empire
We continued to the summit of the hill from which we had a superb view of The Don Valley. We were shown the Fort which was overgrown with Grass & shrub and walked around the edge of the Ramparts.
At the side of the main path was a Board giving details about the Fort which was very interesting.
We then walked back down the hill and drove a short distance to Wincobank Undenominational Chapel for refreshments. The Chapel was first established in 1817 in the coach house of Wincobank Hall, which stood to the rear of the present building. The present building was opened on 13th April 1841 by James Montgomery who wrote a hymn for the occasion. On leaving the Chapel we drove to Tinsley Manor Junior School to observe excavations on the School playing field. The Archaeologists were looking for evidence of Tinsley Manor which had stood on this site. There were 5 trenches open, 2 containing a red ceramic pipe which had been used for draining the land, 1 containing stonework which had once been a courtyard floor.
Archaeological Trip to Staveley Hall & Barrow Hill Round House 15/07/2014
We set off on a cloudy but dry day to Staveley Hall and on arriving found that a very large Trench had been dug into what had been a midden in front of the House. We were given a talk about the history of the house which is a Grade 11 listed Building and was built by Sir Peter Frecheville in 1604. Some early records refer to the Castle so it is believed there was a building in the time of the Musard Family, the original owner, probably a fortified manor house originally built of wood.
We were taken to see the side and back of the hall and the rear grounds
Returning to the front of the Hall we were all assigned to various excavation tasks.
Some of us were assigned to the large Midden Trench
Some of us including myself were assigned to digging in a newly opened Trench.
We dug and found some pieces of pottery and a horse’s tooth and lower down found some stonework. We had a great time and it was a wonderful and valuable experience
Leaving Staveley we travelled a very short distance to Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre where we were taken on a guided tour. We were taken inside the Round House where a number of Locos were on show.
We also went outside to watch a Diesel Engine being unloaded.
Before it was unloaded we went onto the Station platform to see more Locos and Carriages.
INCLUSIVE ARCHAEOLOGY- Sean M Colliver-Foster
Most of my life I’ve been curious about History, Relics, and Artefacts. But archaeology is something I put on the back burner so to speak, for later in life when I had more recreational time. Then out of the blue, along came this course.
Our course ran for around 12 weeks, unfortunately I only have five minutes to talk about it.
It was a small group with around a dozen students, Tim the Tutor and a couple of volunteers. Meeting people for the first time can be somewhat daunting, especially for me. Our class was based in an old library, spacious, with high ceilings. This helped me somewhat with my challenges.
Week one, we were straight out in the field! Transported by minibus we went to the highest highs of the windy moors of Ewden Beck. This session was to include stone circles from the Bronze Age, and then we came across several burial mounds.
I was getting quite excited and wondered who was carrying the spades.
As we travelled back down to base camp, along the ever so windy roads, I became unwell with motion sickness. And we never did see a shovel, or a spade, let alone do any digging!
Week two was class based with artefacts and assemblages (broken bits of pots). I remember how powerful it felt when Tim produced a Bronze Age, flint arrowhead! Which I gently clasped in my hands.
But we still hadn’t done any digging! It was my belief that all Archaeologists did was DIG!! Getting slightly frustrated I decided to give it just one more week before I threw the rattle out of the pram!
Week three, we were told we wouldn’t be doing any digging! WHAT? Am I on the right course? Anyway we did Buildings Archaeology, which took us around a lot of my childhood haunts, with some familiar classic and contemporary buildings. At last I had answers to those questions from my bygone days, which I found extremely powerful. I also found the whole experience to be seriously exhausting.
And we hadn’t even lifted a spade!
Week four, we visited Rivelin Glen, and covered Topography -Geological formations, along with evidence of several Mill-Ponds and the remains of Roscoe Wheel House circa 1725. This again answered more of my questions about what this area had been used for. And was yet another thoroughly enjoyable week, even though I struggled a bit with my physical health.
Week five, We visited Wincobank Hill. The only Iron Age Fort in England, and in an urban area. And to think I used to spend many a school holiday up there playing cowboys and Indians or army soldiers, oblivious to its existence!
The second half of the course we concentrated on an area known as Wadsley or Loxley Common and Bradfield Quarry along with a Ganister mine where we carried out a walk over survey.
Part of this area was recently cleared of many trees, exposing possible stone circles, Cairns and other interesting artefacts of which we took measurements, and plotted, and recorded.
In order to get through the syllabus, this course runs at a pretty fast pace.
It became part of my life and routine, which I thoroughly enjoyed in so many ways, which also benefited my health.
By the time the end of the course was looming we had worked well together in small groups and conducted several offset surveys. Although this again I found exhausting, it was also quite exhilarating, as we had bonded with other group members; we were relaxed, and actually had a few laughs along the way.
One of the many highlights was to have my certificate presented by our Lady Mayor. As I approached her I gently grasped her chain of office and said, “That’s some mighty fine piece of bling you’ve got there Missus!” to which she replied, “It is, isn’t it?”
All this without the use of a spade!
The only digging I’m ever doing is that in my own gardens once in a while.
I hope you get as much out of your course as I did mine.
Thank you for reading this.
Take Care. Happy Digging!!
Sean M Colliver-Foster 2013