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Heritage Heroes comes to an end…

The project has now come to an end after a successful two years working with schools and communities to explore local heritage. The project worked with over 900 pupils, giving them outdoor learning experiences that they will forever remember. With an inter-generational outlook on history and archaeology in rural areas, people have come together to learn from each other. The project also spanned the difficult transition years for school students involving them in a common theme both in separate primary schools and together once at secondary school.

Through both classroom based and outdoor learning, visiting places of historic importance on their doorstep, core skills such a numeracy, literacy and problem-solving are enhanced as well as improvements to all-round sense of health, well-being and pride of place.  Continuous Professional Development for teachers has also encouraged the use of archaeology as a tool for delivering the Curriculum for Excellence in a way which engages children with practical life and work skills.

 We began in 2012 in South Lanarkshire touring primary schools delivering practical and engaging workshops to Primary 7 pupils.  The sessions involved mock excavations, map work and artefact handling with input from local enthusiasts from Lanarkshire Family History Group and Biggar Museum Trust.  From there we moved over to the Scottish Borders again targeting Primary 7 pupils just before they made the transition to secondary school.  With help from the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Borders Family History Society, Hawick Scottish Borders Council, Hawick Archaeological Society and local people who just fancied joining in, we engaged 400+ children and 30 adults in a series of outdoor sessions in the Borders.

Workshops varied depending on accessible heritage close to schools.  For example, children from Strathaven visited a local historical graveyard, using numerical and spatial skills to record the standing gravestones whilst local experts could explain the carvings and tell stories about some of the families buried there.  A similar visit was arranged to an ancient graveyard near Jedburgh.  One of the biggest, logistical exercises involved 181 year 1 pupils from Hawick High School all visiting the same site over three days.  Stobs Camp lies just outside Hawick and is the remnant of the most important WW1 training and internment camp in Scotland.  Local enthusiasts brought the site to life for the children as they learned how to use manual and digital recording techniques to survey the standing and semi-buried archaeology.

The project has given hundreds of pupils tailored learning experiences that they will never forget whilst giving teachers the confidence as well as the resources to undertake outdoor learning with future classes. Lastly, it has given a platform to community groups and volunteers to share their incredible knowledge of local heritage, fostering a wider sense of well-being and community in rural Scotland.

The project has helped establish a framework for how Archaeology Scotland delivers outdoor learning, and we are keen to carry out similar work in the future. For now, keep up to date with the latest AS learning resources on our website here, or all our projects here.

 

 

Heritage Heroes: a teachers guide!

In support of the project’s work, a booklet has been created that will help teachers run educational sessions that use archaeology, both in classrooms and outdoors. It showcases archaeology as a tool for teaching and learning, whilst also providing activity ideas and links to useful online resources

The booklet can be downloaded here – Heritage Heroes Teacher’s Guide

An extract from the Heritage Heroes Teachers Guide.

An extract from the Heritage Heroes Teachers Guide.

A new Borders Heritage forum!

Archaeology Scotland is pleased to announce that the Heritage Heroes project will now be supported by a new Borders heritage forum on twitter. The forum (which can be found by clicking here – @bordersheritage) will connect community archaeologists and budding historians in the Scottish Borders. It will provide a space for people to share ideas, local heritage news and general discussion. The forum will be managed by Andy Jepson (@theandyjepson on twitter!) – a local archaeologist and historian who has contributed broadly to the Heritage Heroes’ outdoor learning sessions this year.

The @BordersHeritage forum was launched at Scotland's Community Heritage Conference 2014, in Crieff.

The @BordersHeritage forum was launched at Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference 2014, in Crieff.

So, get following and help the forum grow!

Jedburgh Grammar @ Crailing Old Burial Ground

Pupils from Jedburgh Grammar School braved windy conditions to undertake an investigation of the Old Burial Ground in Crailing this week. Only a short bus ride from their school, the Old Burial Ground was the perfect case study for the pupils to use and develop some of the ‘history detectives’ skills that they have been learning in school.

Project Officer Martin Conlon guides the pupils through the remains of the church.

Project Officer Martin Conlon guides the pupils through the remains of the church.

The site holds the remains of the 14th century church that once served the parish of Crailing, as well as a monument to the Cranstons, a wealthy borders family who once had a castle near the burial ground (although no traces of it remain), and some incredible headstones that are rich in iconography. All this archaeology in such an enclosed space made for a fantastic afternoon of investigating, with pupils being met off the bus and given maps, helping them plot where they were in the landscape and also identifying where they were going to be going.

Once they arrived at the site, pupils explored the remains of the church, theorizing on why it is no longer there and tracing out its outline that they felt could clearly be seen via the bumps and undulations in the ground!

The pupils then used their powers of detection to examine the Cranston Monument, which has been badly damaged and eroded over time. The class spotted that although the monument is not in good condition, its many carefully crafted parts now lay on the ground, next to the monument. This allowed the group to piece it back together in their heads, carefully examining discarded stonework and matching it up with a picture from the 1930s.

The image on the left (courtesy of RCAHMS) shows the monument in the 1930s. Taken this year, the image on the right shows the monument as it is now, badly eroded over time.

The image on the left (courtesy of RCAHMS) shows the monument in the 1930s. Taken this year, the image on the right shows the monument as it is now, badly eroded over time.

The pupils found one of the original figurines lying next to the monument. It has been bagged up to protect it from the elements and moss etc!

The pupils found one of the original figurines lying next to the monument. It has been bagged up to protect it from the elements and moss etc!

The headstones that are dotted around the burial ground are truly remarkable, with fantastic stone masonry iconography which gives deep clues to those who are buried on the site.

The headstones are rich in iconography, showing the trades of those who are buried (such as the blacksmith in the top left), as well as emblems of mortality.

The headstones are rich in iconography, showing the trades of those who are buried (such as the blacksmith in the top left), as well as emblems of mortality.

Using modelling clay and information on what the emblems and markings mean, the pupils set about making old headstones in the styles of the ones dotted around. The iconography really captured the pupils (and teachers!) imaginations and they produced some incredible models.

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The pupils came up with some amazing headstones of their own, with each pupil showcasing theirs to the their peers, describing what the markings on their clay-stone represent.

The session finished with pupils discussing their thoughts on the site, evaluating the available evidence and thinking about the importance of the site to historians but also to the wider community. The pupil’s comments can be heard by using the link below;

Archaeology Scotland would like to thank Jedburgh Grammar School’s pupils and staff for taking part, Tim Abbot and Chris Bowles for all their help, and Linda Coles for her support in organizing the event.

Martin, Tim and the Jedburgh pupils at the Crailing War Memorial.

Martin, Tim and the Jedburgh pupils at the Crailing War Memorial.

Outdoor Learning at Stobs Camp

Last week, the Heritage Heroes project delivered 3 days of outdoor learning with S1 pupils from Hawick High School at Stobs Camp, near Hawick. The project had previously engaged with close to all of the primary schools in and around Hawick, so the sessions gave us the opportunity to reconnect with the pupils after they have made the transition to secondary school.

Stobs Camp from above, 2012 (©RCAHMS)

Stobs Camp was one of Scotland’s largest Prisoner of War camps, being home to thousands of (mainly German) captives during WWI and WWII. The camp had a profound impact on the local area and its name still lives on in the memories of local people today. The name is also familiar to the school children of Hawick, being the site of numerous personal connections such as dog-walking, camping, horse-riding and scout trips. However, for most of the pupils, the history and archaeology of the site was still to be explored. The site has many challenges, from roaming livestock, asbestos filled buildings to its sheer size and scale (as demonstrated in the picture above!), but once these had been mitigated, it made an incredible backdrop for enlivening festival of outdoor learning.

Over the three days, 158 S1 pupils came up to take part in outdoor learning sessions. The ethos behind the project is to try and involve local people and groups in the school’s learning, demonstrating the value of community connections. As a result of this, we were lucky to be joined on site by a range of experts, individuals and groups across the three days, all chipping in with their enthusiasm and knowledge, making the sessions both vibrant and engaging. To try and make the sessions as worthwhile as possible, each class took part in a number of activities whilst on site;

Hut Investigation

:eft; The Camp c1940. Right; Pupils from Hawick High School checking out the remaining hut.

:eft; The Camp c1940. Right; Pupils from Hawick High School checking out the remaining hut.

In their classes, pupils and their teachers investigated the last remaining wooden hut on the site, studying it in the context of maps and plans. Working in small groups and armed with an investigation sheet, the pupils walked round the perimeter of the hut, assessing its condition, whilst also looking at how it matches with the huts shown in the photo from the 1940s. The pupils also discussed risks to the future preservation to the hut as well as ways in which it could be protected. Ideas for protecting the site were far-ranging, from legal protection, site interpretation and restoration, to CCTV, barbed fire fencing and even armed guards!

Claire Druett leads a class of young building surveyors towards the POW hut, in glorious weather.

Claire Druett leads a class of young building surveyors towards the POW hut, in glorious weather.

Creative Storytelling 

Led by Claire Druett (a creative storyteller) and Jared Squirrell (founding member of the Borders Family History Society), pupils listened to, retold and created their own stories about the Camp, examining how people fit in to the archaeology that the site holds. Creative storytelling gave pupils a platform to develop their speaking and listening skills, sharing their ideas and encouraging those around them.

Creative storytelling, in a 100 year old trench dug by army engineers.

Creative storytelling, in a 100 year old trench dug by army engineers.

The sessions were designed to allow the sharing of knowledge from different local groups and volunteers, allowing for a co-authored examination of the site to help boost our shared understanding of it, fostering a sense of community at the same time.

Measured drawing 

Local archaeologist Andy Jepson (@theandyjepson) designed basic measured drawing sessions to show pupils some of the tools used by archaeologists to produce basic site plans. This involved the pupils drawing and measuring out what they saw in front of them, adding in compass points and headings, whilst theorizing about what they believed the structure to be and why. The sessions demonstrated the immense dexterity of archaeology as a tool for learning; utilizing a wealth of skills such as numeracy, drawing, speaking etc.

Pupils produced their own measured sketches, whilst articulating what they thought the building may have been and why.

Pupils produced their own measured sketches, whilst articulating what they thought the building may have been and why.

On Wednesday, we were lucky to be joined by David Hill from Hawick Museum and Hawick Archaeological Society. David has a considerable knowledge about the camp (and specifically about the amazing collections material that the museum holds in relation the site, and was therefore able to lead pupils on an exploration of the site’s forgotten cemetery.

Also joining us on Wednesday was Kelsey Jubin (Creative Learning Assistant from Scottish Borders Council), Tim Abbot (a teacher in training), Ian Lowes (Ex-president of the Hawick Archaeological Society) and Derek Robertson (Hawick historian and creator of an amazing website about the site which can be found here). It was particularly engaging for the pupils to meet Derek, whose website they had looked up in school and in their own time before coming to the camp, showing just what can be done with a passion and knowledge for a local area.

The pupils finished the sessions by discussing the sites history and archaeology, recording each other talk about if they think the Camp is important and why. The recordings can be heard by using the links below.

Jared Squirrell, who has been involved with the project in both its primary and secondary school phase, articulated what he felt he has gained from the project this far.

Jared Squirrell, Andy Jepson and Claire Druett

Jared Squirrell, Andy Jepson and Claire Druett

L-R; Tim Abbot, David Hill, Ian Lowes, Jared Squirrell, Claire Druett and Derek Robertson.

L-R; Tim Abbot, David Hill, Ian Lowes, Jared Squirrell, Claire Druett and Derek Robertson.

Archaeology Scotland would like to thank the teachers and staff at Hawick High School for their support and assistance throughout. Thanks also go to Andy Jepson, Claire Druett, Jared Squirrell, Kelsey Jubin, David Hill, Tim Abbot, Derek Robertson and Ian Lowes.  Lastly, we would like to thank the pupils of Hawick High School whose natural inquisitiveness and sense of adventure made the sessions enriching and rewarding for all who took part.

 

For more information on the camp;

Stobs Camp –  http://stobs-camp.bizhat.com/

RCAHMS – http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/86444/details/stobs+camp/

Other useful links;

Scottish Srtorytelling Centre – http://www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre

Hawick Museum – http://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/member/hawick-museum-gallery

Borders Family History Society – http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/

Hawick High School – http://www.hawickhighschool.co.uk/

Hawick Archaeological Society – http://www.airchieoliver.co.uk/

 

 

Summer 2014

It’s been a busy couple of months with the final Borders P7 classes taking part in the Work of an Archaeologist session.

Here are some of their theories about their mini-excavation:

We also had a visit by Trinity Primary to Hermitage Castle, where we worked jointly with Historic Scotland. Students did some role-play dramatic activities and had a tour of the Castle with Jane Gaze of Historic Scotland. They worked with an archaeologist to do some measured drawing of the castle walls and learned how archaeologists record sites with kite and pole aerial photography.

Formidable reivers castle of Hermitage

Borders Schools get to investigate an archaeological burial in their class!

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As you know the pupils from the Borders have been given the opportunity to excavate an archaeological burial. Each class had 4 dig boxes with “human bone” and a range of artefacts that gave them clues to who this person was when he/she was alive. They were then placed in teams and collaborated together to come up with an interpretation on who this person might be when they lived.