teaching archaeology

Stone Pages Archaeo News is on my regular reading list. The article below piqued my interest and the wish to share it. It’s copied in its entirety because their articles are not hyperlinked.

Teaching British children archaeology
A Decade ago they would not have known what the word meant, but programmes such as Time Team have filled today’s youngsters with enthusiasm. Wiltshire (England) children as young as five will soon be studying archaeology as part of their school curriculum – and the county’s world-famous landmark, Stonehenge, will help them.

     The Government says Key Stage 2 pupils can go back as far as the Egyptians to learn about history, and in Wiltshire many schools have decided to make use of the ancient treasures on their own doorstep. 22 teachers from around the county took part in a day-long session at Salisbury Museum and were given ideas on how to teach the wonders and mysteries of Stonehenge and archaeology in general. Children will also learn about the King and Prince of Stonehenge, who were laid to rest with their possessions, including fabulous gold earrings or hair clasps, 4,300 years ago. Their discovery near the stone circle at Boscombe Down three years ago was hailed as one of the most important finds of recent decades. Field trips to Salisbury and other Wiltshire museums are also likely, and children in other parts of the county may focus on sites nearer their schools, such as the Avebury circle.

     Amanda Feather, Stonehenge World Heritage Site educational co-ordinator, said: “Children these days are knowledgeable about techniques they have seen on TV and very interested in the whole concept of uncovering the past. They like the idea of becoming detectives and trying to solve the mysteries of the past. Many of them want to be archaeologists.” Last year a Stonehenge Scheme of Work was trialed at Amesbury primary school to support the teachers’ use of Stonehenge in their lessons. Ms Feather said: “This year we are launching the initiative to support all schools in Wiltshire.” Source: Western Daily Press (18 March 2005)

I would love to be in these classes if I were a schoolchild again! Does it seem that there’s a huge growth in archaeology and public interest in its findings? With education through schools, museums and through the internet, hopefully there will be more committment to preservation against vandalism and encroachment by developers. On the other hand, why do looters seem to have a very lucrative market?

March 19, 2005 in Rock Art & Archaeology by Marja-Leena