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Schools visit the Arbor Low Environs Project

The first two days of the Arbor Low Environs Project dig this year have been a resounding success. I’m not so much talking about the archaeology here – although I’m sure many exciting things will be unearthed as the days go by -no, what I am talking about are the school visits we have had so far.

I have had the pleasure and privilege to introduce and re-introduce many young people and their teachers to Arbor Low, Gib Hill and the wonderful world of archaeology. The children (and teachers!) have been receptive, enthusiastic and have even proved to be quite nifty with a trowel! They have dug and trowelled and sifted soil. Some have even de-turfed the trenches and contended with tree roots. They have dug down to the bedrock in some places with nothing much to see, but in others we do actually seem to have something rather interesting going on. On this, I’ll keep you updated.

Handing over Palaeolithic hand axes and scrapers, Neolithic polished stone axes, and Bronze Age spear heads (borrowed from the Derbyshire Schools Library Service) for the children to explore and contemplate, has meant that I have watched many faces light up with amazement. When you see someone else get the same thrill as you do from touching something that a person many thousands of years ago touched, it is… well, I just love it.

Yesterday we had a marvellous group from Melland High School in Manchester, today I had enthusiastic youngsters from Curbar Primary School and the whole of Monyash Primary School. From the responses we have had so far, it has been a truly worthwhile and rewarding experience for all concerned.

Tomorrow we have Buxton Infants, the next day Harpur Hill and then Fairfield Juniors – I can’t wait!


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