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We’ve Peeled Back the Layers and been to Arbor Low.

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Well, what a busy time it’s been over here as we’ve had two projects running – Peeling Back the Layers and Arbor Low Environs Project. These have seen us excavating with community groups, volunteers and of course schoolchildren.

Peeling Back the Layers is a community archaeology project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council for British Archaeology, the Peak District National Park and English Heritage. We have been exploring the history and archaeology of a small farm on the Derbyshire-Staffordshire border in the parish of Sheen. This month we were excavating in the search for two houses and a barn. As with most excavations, we set off with questions, got some answers, but rather more questions as a result!

We had quite a few visits from schools including Fitzherbert  and  Hartington primary schools. The children, and teachers, helped out and gained experience in a range of archaeological skills and techniques – from de-turfing to 3D surveying. There were some indoor jobs too, such as finds processing and analysis.

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We’ve had tremendous feedback from all the schools who participated in the project and we’ve just received some fabulous letters by the children from Fitzherbert Primary School in Fenny Bentley nr Ashbourne and as soon as we’ve scanned them in we’ll let you see them!

Following hot on the heels of Peeling Back the Layers, we put our Abor Low Environs Project hats on and did some workshops on prehistory at the famous monument, including some more excavation. We had over 120 children and staff visit us to take part, including all of Year 7 of Buxton Community School and Year 5 from Calow Primary School, Chesterfield.

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The children worked really hard on their workshops on the henge and Gib Hill, where they were measuring the stones in order to make scaled drawing and re-enacting Bronze Age burials. In addition to this they gained experience at excavating and recording finds in our test pits. We found over 70 pieces of burnt flint and a piece of very coarse pottery. Burnt flint is significant around here as it doesn’t occur naturally, so it must have been brought here by people in the past. The children were really excited at the prospect of finding artifacts from prehistory and did a great job!

As its now the summer break, we’re expecting a bit of a delay in getting some feedback and images – but the word was everyone had a great time!


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