2020 Archaeology and Learning

We have had a flurry of new subscribers over the past couple of weeks, so welcome everybody to our 2020 blogs. We now have over 100 subscribers which is very exciting and we feel it is time to write our first blog for 2020.

The Pale Blue Dot - us!

Today is the 30th anniversary of the famous pale blue dot photograph taken by Voyager 1, an Earth selfie taken from almost 4 billion miles away. This image, its significance and the story behind it has featured in just about all of our lessons this week. In many ways it encapsulates the entire discipline of humanities in a single photograph, of a small dot. If you were born before 14th February 1990, you are a part of this photo! This image is courtesy of NASA and you can read more about the pale blue dot and hear Carl Sagan's amazing commentary at the NASA website:


Being the beginning of the year we have been busy renewing our memberships including the Council for British Archaeology, Clifton Antiquarian Club, The Prehistoric Society, The Historical Association and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. There can be no better fora for collecting CPD! We are very excited that the Department for Education now recommend that schools and educational settings use members of the CLOtC for delivering outdoor activities and we are probably unique amongst CLOtC members in terms of the specialist nature of our activities.

In January and February we have been regulars on the bus down to London to attend the University of London PALSEM20 lectures, discovering cutting edge developments on Palaeolithic research that we look forward to incorporating into our learning.

This week we have been busy taking students from Wotton House School down to Gloucester Museum. During our excavation in the Forest of Dean last summer we recovered some medieval green glaze pottery and we have been exploring some rather more complete examples.

We have more exciting plans underway for the spring and summer:

In May we are running a history and wellbeing retreat in the woods above Tintern overlooking the River Wye. We shall be exploring the Bronze Age woodland landscape by day and the prehistoric (and modern) sky by night. We shall be making use of our new portable observatory and beautiful telescopes to bring the heavens just a little closer. Our observatory (which looks not unlike an octagonal tent without a roof) has added a new level of comfort to our observing and we intend to augment this with some "luxury astro viewing solutions" (which will look not unlike deckchairs).

For the grown ups, a hot tub, sauna, yoga and delicious Welsh wines from the vineyard next door will ensure a relaxing break. Craftily timed to coincide with the Hay Festival, why not combine some hands on history and literacy?

In August we are continuing our archaeology project in the Forest of Dean with a "Discovering archaeology" themed retreat. Come along and dig with us for a couple of days.

We are also participating in a cultural retreat at the same location for Chinese students and will be dusting off our Chinese artefacts for some practical ancient Chinese history and astronomy sessions.

Our history for Home Educators programme in Gloucester has got off to a great start. In this series we are exploring the history of the overlooked, characters who have been somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Nelson, Shakespeare and Paganini. We have a couple of spaces still available.

In Bristol we are planning some outdoor history discovery days for the spring.

The Historical Association Annual Conference comes to our home city of Bristol in March and we are really looking forward to two days of networking, discussion and presentations on current teaching strategies and resources.

And finally, for the moment, we are putting together plans for local schools to getting some archaeology projects underway. If your school has a few lumps and bumps in the field and you would like some support to explore these as part of a school history and archaeology project, do get in touch, we are getting really good at this!

Please feel free to share our blog and Facebook posts, it would be great to get our subscription up to 120 this year!

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