Stories, fire and muddy hands – Iron Age Storytelling

  • 1st November 2013

Children recently entered the world of the Iron Age in an exciting event we recently organised which combined traditional British stories with hands on history and archaeology to bring the past to life. It was organised as part of the University of Worcester’s Beeline Storytelling Festival and we invited schools from the local area whose children were all familiar with British Camp and other local hillforts. To get them in the mood we held it at Malvern Outdoor Elements, who have a small reproduction roundhouse for them to explore, as well as using the rest of the wooded location.

 Starting off round a fire in front of the roundhouse, author Daniel Mordon told riddles and traditional stories which took them back 2000 years in their imaginations, before taking the children on a walk down to a wetland area, using the landscape to help him tell more tales and bring the stories to life. Images by our archaeological illustrators helped to enhance their imaginations by placing the stories in specific landscapes.

The children also got their hand dirty, in some cases very dirty, by having a go at building sections of a roundhouse with archaeologist Rob Hedge on hand to show them how they would have been built. This was all done based on excavations which have taken place in the county of Iron Age settlements by our archaeologists. The children built walls of wattle using willow, before creating daub with clay, mud, straw and sand, but no animal dung on this occasion! All the material came from the WYAC allotment (see earlier blog article), and it was great to be able to join up the different aspects of experimental archaeology in this way. 

We then explored the reproduction roundhouse to see what the finished house might have looked like. They were impressed at how cosy it seemed, and judging by their excellent effort they might have made decent house builders with some supervision.

It was a fantastic day, and the children (and the teachers) loved the chance to get out of the classroom to experience stories and archaeology through sounds, smells and touch, finding out what Iron Age life would have been like.

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