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Calow visits Arbor Low

Yesterday, the sun was shining, and 15 happy Y5s from Calow Primary School put to use the skills they have been developing throughout the year (see What? When? How? Where with Calow C of E Primary School?)

We began by exploring the henge monument itself.  Armed with post-it notes and pencils the children were asked to write down any questions they had about the monument that they would like answering.  I have put these questions below and, as you can see, some are easier to answer than others.  For example finding out how may stones there are is a little more straightforward than trying to answer why they are all in a circle!  Although I have my opinions, I would like anyone to feel free to answer them (as few or as many as you like) and share your ideas by commenting below.

So here are the questions:

How many stones are there? (see comment below and the plan in the gallery) Why are the stones in a circle? Why are there lots of stones in the middle? Why are there so many stones? Why is there a bank? Why are there little hills over there? Why is it called a barrow? Why is the barrow so big What is so special about Arbor Low?

I can’t wait to read your answers!

Some ideas the children had about Arbor Low was that it was once a meeting place, or a castle, or possibly a house.  Someone thought that there may have been water in the ditch at some point.

Do you agree with any of these ideas? If so why, and if not, why not? Join in the discussion below! And don’t forget to try and answer those questions…

Anyway, back to yesterday.  Following on from Arbor Low, we explored Gib Hill.  After reminding the children about Bronze Age burials (we covered this in Workshop 5 in school), they re-enacted their own, using plans and images of finds from other burials.

It was then time for what they had all been waiting for – the chance to dig!  Dr Ian Parker Heath, the director of the Arbor Low Environs Project, and I had opened a couple of test pits behind the farmhouse, on the site of a possible much denuded barrow, close to where Ian believes people may have processed up the dry valley from Cales Dale up around Gib Hill and then to the henge itself.  The children enthusiastically excavated these pits, refreshed their knowledge of planning and recording, and learnt the difference between chert and flint, and a worked tool and nothing in particular.  In fact, they became quite the experts!

We ended the day with a short presentation ceremony.  The children were given certificates in recognition of their hard work throughout the year, and the school was presented with a replica Neolithic flint knife.

Here’s what Mr Thacker, the Headteacher, had to say: “…thank you again for a wonderful day with you and Ian at Arbor Low.  The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

I have had a fantastic time working with Miss Monkhouse, Mr Thacker and the Y5s from Calow.  Many thanks for inviting me into your school and for visiting us at Arbor Low. We hope to see you next year too!


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