Today the local Ipplepen Primary School had a school trip to the Hub and excavation, to find out more about archaeology and what really happens on site. The excited group from class 4 and class 5- a total of 63 pupils- spent the whole day on a school trip which was organised and led by Ipplepen Archaeological Project’s Danielle Wootton. The pupils visited the Hub in the morning and then spent the afternoon at the excavation. There were six educational activities, learning about archaeology and Roman life in engaging and relatable ways. Thanks to our intern Calyspso, and Maria and Judy at the Hub, and Jess, Kristin and the archaeology students on site- you were all stars! Also thanks and hello to teachers Miss Kedge and Mrs Clark and the teaching assistants and parents who were all so enthusiastic and helped to make the day a real success.
The first activity was the ‘Potato Game’, where students practised their observation and description skills essential to fieldwork by analysing and describing a potato. Their teachers then guessed which description matched each potato, and thanks to the good recording skills, every guess was correct! Next was an activity based on the first ever finds at Ipplepen; Roman coins. The children looked at replica Roman coins and then designed their own coins, which you can look at in the Hub. The third activity was based on the Iron Age round house evidence found previously on site. Classes 4 and 5 learnt about how round houses are built then they drew their own interpretation of what the site would have looked like.
Next they were off to the site to make use of their new skills. After a packed lunch, the students had a tour of the site, and then tried their hand at field archaeology. The students started by using a planning frame and a compass to make scaled drawing plans incorporating maths, geography, and their great recording and observation skills they showed us in the ‘Potato Game’! Afterwards, students tried washing pottery sherds with a toothbrush in a washing up bowl and had the opportunity to learn about different types of pottery. One of class 4 and 5’s favourite activities of the day was sieving the spoil heap to look for pottery in the topsoil taken off by machinery. The students were keen to have a go at this activity after a fantastic talk by local volunteer Judy Dewhirst, who told them about her experiences on the dig in previous excavations. Many thanks to Judy for coming in to the Hub to talk to the children, who were inspired by her talk!
It was an action-packed day for the students, who really enjoyed learning more about what life in their village would have been like in the past, as well as how archaeology lets us understand it in the present. Some favourite moments of theirs were the ‘Potato Game’ and sieving. Some students from class 4 even decided they would like to be archaeologists when they are older! Many thanks go out to the young archaeologists of Ipplepen Primary School, and to the invaluable teachers and helpers. Thanks also to the team on site who helped with the day, and to Danielle Wootton for putting the whole experience together!