The brief from Burbage Primary School was quite specific – a day that would take the children away from the school grounds, discover the archaeology of the area but without the need for transport.
To fulfil this I developed a walking field-trip to some of the prehistoric sites of Buxton.
The children, using picture clues, led the way to the site of Lismore Fields where Neolithic structures were excavated before modern housing was built in the 1980s. After considering the similarities and differences in sights, sounds and smells between now and then, we built miniature reconstructions of the Neolithic buildings by the banks of the River Wye, using natural materials that we collected from the immediate vicinity. The children also had plans and pictures of other reconstructions that they used as inspiration.
Afterwards, we walked to Grin Low and Solomon’s Temple, which stands on the site of a Bronze Age barrow. We discussed what we could see in the landscape and why people may have been buried in this location. Then in groups we re-enacted our own burials, considering how the objects may have entered the graves, who may have been in control and what other activities may have occurred.
The ideas the children developed were inspired and involved lots of chants, dancing and ordering themselves into hierarchies. “…what a super day we had. The children … mentioned it several times over the remainder of the term. The practical activities brought the whole experience alive and the children were enthusiastically engaged. I feel sure the day will stay in their memories for years to come!” (Mrs Gresham, Y5/6 teacher, Burbage Primary School, Buxton)