We took the Trojan War to Lancashire and gave pupils at Calder Vale St John’s and Scorton C of E Primary Schools a morning to remember.
After a few tasks to encourage the children to think like archaeologists, that is exactly what they became, as they excavated items usually found in Late Bronze Age Greece and the Troad.
The children also had the opportunity to handle genuine Mycenaean pots – yes, that’s right – pots that are over 3000 years old and which had been generously loaned by the University of Birmingham (not my own, unfortunately).
The children also kindly helped me to dress up Ian in the Dendra Panoply again (see The Trojan War at Derby High School for the first time)! The Dendra Panoply is a suit of armour, so called because it was found at Dendra, a village in the Argolid, Greece, and dates to the Late Bronze Age. Of course Ian wasn’t wearing the real thing (an image of which can be seen below), but a replica, made by Dianne Wardle and her husband Dr Ken Wardle of the University of Birmingham. What is so interesting about this suit of armour is that elements of it are described by Homer in The Iliad, such as the boar’s tusk helmet (examples of which have also been found at other Mycenaean sites):
Meriones gave Odysseus a bow, a quiver and a sword, and put a cleverly made leather helmet on his head. On the inside there was a strong lining on interwoven straps, onto which a felt cap had been sewn in. The outside was cleverly adorned all around with rows of white tusks from a shiny-toothed boar, the tusks running in alternate directions in each row. —Homer, Iliad 10.260–5
Although the armour Ian wore is a replica, it is still made of bronze and whilst he struggled with the weight of this thing, the children had the chance to try on replica helmets and handle replica swords. Many photos were taken – we are just waiting to get the go ahead to use some on this site – and then you will be able to see just how ridiculous someone (or maybe just Ian?) looks wearing the Dendra Panoply!