|Two weeks ago a team of SWAAG members delivered a "Fossils, Flints and Finds" workshop to children at Arkengarthdale School. Today it was their turn to come and visit us on The Hagg. The weather was perfect for our short hike up from Reeth Show field and the children tackled the stiff climb up to the dig site with no complaining and only one "are we nearly there yet?". There was however a brief pause en route to say hello to a friendly horse and to count the spots on a ladybird.
On arrival at The Hagg and after a safety briefing, Philip introduced the site and what we currently believe to be its layout. Then it was time to visit the finds tent and handle and discuss some of the many flints and sherds of pot which have been found.
Graham Taylor, heritage potter and experimental archaeologist, treated the children to a workshop on Roman pottery, illustrated by the amazing examples he has created using authentic methods. His handling collection included Samian, Nene Valley and moulded oil lamps. Graham has recently returned from Vindolanda where he built and fired a Roman-style kiln.
The children were then able to visit the site itself and Philip explained the structure of the wonderful door sill that has been uncovered, getting the children to form a circle where the wall of the roundhouse would have stood with the hearth in the middle. After a career in teaching, I have rarely seen a class so enthralled as they were with this vivid reconstruction.
Finally the class produced sketches of the site showing how it looks today and how it may have looked in the past. They took home Archaeology stickers and details of the local Young Archaeologists Club. Hopefully we have given these children a closer connection with the past in their local area and perhaps inspired one or two future Historians.