Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’
These past few weeks we have been really excited at the museum to begin the pilot sessions for our new Archaeology primary school session, ‘Dig Stories; Bringing the Past to Life’
This session explores the hands on practical skills of what it’s like being an archaeologist by way of a sand box dig, unearthing real objects!
The group then identifies their finds and graduates to handling real objects from our collection and debating methods of conservation.
At the end of the session children create their own ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ filled with objects they choose themselves for a particular theme of cabinet.
We have been really impressed by the groups that have tasted this session so far, they have all passed their archaeological training and we can’t wait to see them in the future as experts of archaeology themselves!
If you are interested in booking a school group on to our new Archaeology session, ‘Dig Stories; Bringing the Past to Life’ please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
All the way back in January and February of this year the Museum was working with eight Year 8 students from Matthew Moss High School in order to create a Midden – so that we could research the decay and survival of a number of everyday objects. We called it our ‘Experiment in Archaeology’ and installed the midden in our Allotment with plans to excavate just before the opening of the new Ancient Worlds Galleries in late October.
Well, our Year 8′s were welcomed back to the Museum last week and were treated to a tour of the University of Manchester’s Chemistry labratory so that they could use the equipment to test a variety of materials. But first they had to identify the differences between organic and inorganic materials and determine which of these categories each of their samples placed in the midden belonged to. They used the Museum’s collection as a resource for discussion and to help them place their samples.
After examining some of the Museum’s collection they then went across to the meet Kristy Turner, RSC School Teacher Fellow at the School of Chemistry. Here is what she did with the students:
The students used FTIR spectroscopy to look at the materials in the objects they brought with them. This method fires an infrared beam (a bit like that coming from your TV remote) onto the surface of the sample and measures how the beam changes when it is bounced off the sample and returned to the machine. It can show us information about chemical bonds in materials, especially materials made from mainly carbon, like plastics. The students will return in September or October to reanalyse the materials they have dug out from the midden and see if anything has changed. This will let them see if being in the midden has made any changes to the chemical structure of the materials.
Tracey Martin, who accompanied the students on their visit, sent us an email to say: “a BIG thank you! Our Year 8 boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves with you all yesterday“. Below are a few of the photographs of the boys working hard in Chemistry.
They also placed some more items in the midden, mostly organic materials, to see what effect a shorter time period might have on such samples. We can’t wait to welcome them back as Year 9′s in September or October to dig up their midden and retrieve what’s left (if anything) of their objects in preparation for the Ancient Worlds Galleries opening!
This is a Guest Post by Lauren Martin: an intern working in the Museum’s conservation department who has been involved in one of our Secondary education projects.
Recently the Manchester Museum has been working with eight Year 8 pupils from Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale on an experiment to demonstrate the decay and survival of everyday objects. The children were asked to bring a range of objects into school. These included coins, old shoes, ceramics, a golf ball and even a half-eaten doughnut in its paper bag! Over the course of two sessions at the school, the pupils were first encouraged to discuss what they thought happened to different materials after they were buried and how they might look if they were excavated by archaeologists many years later. They were then shown how to photograph, draw and record their own objects accurately as well as having the opportunity to examine them under higher magnification.
A third session took place at the Museum itself where the children buried their objects in a compost heap or ‘midden’ in the Museum Allotment. The objects had each been cut into three by the workshop: two pieces for burial and one piece to remain out as a control. Much fun then ensued (despite the cold!) as the compost bin was filled with alternate layers of compost and objects.
The project was great fun for all involved and the response from the Matthew Moss pupils has been really positive:
“I think this project was a superb idea and is just plain awesome, because it shows us how different materials can degrade as well as some materials which can’t degrade. I enjoyed looking at the artefacts and burying our objects, because not only did we learn a lot of things but we also did some physical activity which is something we don’t do in the classroom.”
“I think the project was fun and I have found out a lot about history. I really enjoyed working with the museum staff…”
The aim is that the same students will return in September 2012 to excavate the objects which will then be used in the creation of a display in the Museum’s new archaeology gallery: Ancient Worlds.
[With many thanks to Velson Horie, Samantha Sportun, Cat Lumb, Lauren Martin, Anna Bunney and Tracy Martin.]
Recently, Bryan Sitch, our wonderful Curator of Archaeology visited Matthew Moss High School as part of an ‘Archaeology Day’ they had planned. He provided some of their Year 8 students with a talk on ‘What is Archaeology’ in order to inspire and inform them on this fascinating subject. He took along some basic finds from our collection and engaged the students in exploring what they thing archaeology is and how it is a destructive, but potentially very informative, process. According to the teachers, this really helped in increasing students’ understanding of the subject.
We;re really lucky that we have great curators who work with us in the Learning Team to make our programme successful and although we don’t currently offer Outreach Curator talks on a regular basis, sometimes we can organise the occasional visit here and there on special request. If this is something you might be interested in, please contact me: email@example.com
Recently, pupils from Manchester Academy, Aquinas College, Medlock Primary School and Heald Place Primary School were invovled with the archaeological investigations that took place at Whitworth Park as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported excavations by the University of Manchester. The project involves partners from the University of Manchester Department of Archaeology, The Manchester Museum, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Friends of Whitworth Park and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relation Resource Centre.
During their time on-site in the Park students were able to learn more about its past features, such as the lake and bandstand, and were provided with an introduction to archaeological field techniques and recording methods. They were encouraged to part in the process of recording, processing and cataloguing finds, and then use these to explore aspects of past activities and the material culture of Edwardian life.
All students appeared to relish the opportunity to be involved and take part in the actual process of archaeological digging, learning new techniques and gaining hands-on experience in this practical subject. You can see photographs and comments from Manchester Academy’s visit here.
To find out more about the project, visit their blog: www.whitworthparklife.wordpress.com/
Big News for all those fans of Horrible Histories and Egyptian Tales. The Manchester Museum is holding a competition for the chance to meet Terry Deary and grab a signed copy of an Egyptian Tales book!
In our upcoming Unearthed: Ancient Egyptexhibition, Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories and Egyptian Tales plays our Egyptologist, Dr Digby in film and we want children to help investigate and record his finds. These include toys, farming tools, stone carvings and burial goods, which can help us understand the ancient Egyptians’ home life, working life, language and beliefs.
To enter the competition simple answer this question:
What object do you think would tell future archaeologists the most about you?
Send your answer (object and reasons) to:
Unearthed competition, The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
By Friday 26 August 2011.
Remember to include your contact details with your entry – name, address, phone number and email address (if you have one). The winner will be announced by Tuesday 30 August 2011.
The winner gets to meet the author of Horrible Histories and Egyptian Tales, Terry Deary, in person and gets a signed copy of a book from his Egyptian Tales series.
Terms and conditions
1 winner will be chosen. The winner and their family (up to 5 people) will be invited to the Museum on Thursday 29 September, 4pm, to meet Terry Deary and receive a signed copy of a book from his Egyptian Tales series.
The winner’s name will appear on The Manchester Museum’s website and other promotional material. The winner’s photo may appear on The Manchester Museum’s website and other promotional material after the competition prize has taken place.
On 14th September 2010, Byran Sitch – our Curator of Archaeology – and I delivered a workshop at the Archaeology in Education conference in Liverpool organised by the Council for British Archaeology. Our workshop was focused on the Secondary session called Lindow Man: The Verdict, which was a huge success in 2008-09 during the Lindow Man: a Bog Body Mystery exhibition. If you can’t remember it, or were unlucky enough to miss the exhibition, see the University Museums Group case study which provides a quick overview.
During the workshop for the conference, Bryan and I actually ran the Lindow Man: The Verdict workshop for attendees, and I’m glad to say that there is still a lot of enthusiasm for the topic and especially the distinct style of the court room drama workshop. It’s been a while since the workshop was delivered, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is and how involved you can get in the mystery of Lindow Man and his death.
The reason for all this reminiscing is to highlight the brand new Lindow Man: Teacher Resource which will provide any teacher with the necessary information to the run the very popular Lindow Man: The Verdict session within the classroom. For those who aren’t familiar with the session, the basic principle is that students have to argue three differing cases as to the cause of Lindow Man’s death and prove their case using evidence in a court-room: judged by their own peers. All three teams are provided with the same evidence – the evidence uncovered during the original excavation and examination of Lindow Man – but each team must interpret and question the evidence differently in order to make their case the most logical choice for the judges!
Everything required to run the session is provided in the Teacher Resource pack, but can equally be supplemented with additional materials. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get students to think independently, use evidence based research to draw conclusions and allow them to question the way evidence is interpreted and presented. In addition they also feel ownership over the case of Lindow Man and therefore feel that they are making an impact on the exploration of historical, and local, history.
To download the Lindow Man: Teacher Resource, just click here!
Well, maybe not the rooftops, but don’t you sometimes think it’s good to be able to tell other people about the good stuff?
The Manchester Museum is, as you may know, a part of the University of Manchester. What you might not know (and I certainly didn’t until recently) is that there are a surprising number of museums and galleries connected to universities around the country.
And, being birds of a feather, so to speak, they tend to enjoy the chance to flock together. In fact, there is a Universities Museum Group (UMG)… This is not a case of trying to be snooty, stand-offish or otherwise separate ourselves from other museums and galleries around the country. It’s quite simply the case that university museums and galleries are (in part) differently funded because of their university collections and generally also have a particular responsibility to be involved in and support research of all kinds.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, recently, representatives from the UMG met in Manchester to share news of their projects and developments. Amongst the grand building redesigns and virtual learning environments was yours truly flying the flag for our very own learning programmes. In particular, the wonderful TSI: Time Scene Investigation project which I co-ordinated earlier in the year.
My presentation, whilst giving background information, focused mainly on photos, scans of drawings and writing from notebooks and even sounds snippets from the children involved. I think it was this last aspect that really spoke to the audience – giving the children a voice in that room really brought the project back to life and brought back for me just how much fun and how amazing our work with St James’ school really was.