Digging up the Past!

This is a little collection of primary school-level activity videos developed during lockdown from Wester Hailes Library’s (City of Edinburgh Council) STEM club, FUNgineers.

Each video examines a different aspect or period of archaeology with a STEM or higher order thinking skills activity. The main themes connecting them are the importance of interpretation and the value which archaeological burials can bring by providing insight into specific individuals from the past, and what they tell us about past societies and their belief systems. The activity videos are aimed for use by everyone.

Content in each video can be expanded and allows for differentiation to support Curriculum for Excellence.

FUNgineers STEM activities on Facebook every Friday at 3pm. See below for contact details.

Session 1: Interpretation in Archaeology

FUNgineers Digging Up the Past!: Interpretation in Archaeology – Session Video

About: What is archaeology and how do archaeologists interpret artefacts? This activity video uses the National Trust for Scotland’s ‘The Lost Luggage’ game from ‘Archaeology for Schools – Would You Make A Good Archaeologist?’


ArchaeologyBritannica Kids ©2020 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.  

Jackson, Debbie; Alexander, Derek. Archaeology for Schools – Would You Make A Good Archaeologist?, The National Trust for Scotland. 

Session 2: Viking Age 

FUNgineers: Digging Up the Past!: Viking – Session Video

Discover one of the Viking Age’s best-preserved ship burials, Oseberg, using the Museum of Cultural History, The Viking Ship Museum’s (Oslo, Norway) 360° exhibition. Then design your own longship with junk modelling. 


BBC Bitesize, KS2 Vikings 

BBC History, Hands on History and ‘Make a Viking longship’ –the inspiration for the Viking ship build and a template 

Google Maps 

Graham-Campbell, James (2001) ‘The Viking World, Frances Lincoln Limited. 

UiO: Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, Norway 

The Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark 

Session 3: Ancient Egypt 

FUNgineers: Digging Up the Past!: Ancient Egypt -Session video

Conduct your own science experiment to test whether a tomato can be mummified. This video uses WhizzPopBang!’s ‘Mummify a Tomato’ activity idea.


BBC Bitesize KS2, Ancient Egypt  

BBC History, Ancient Egyptians  

Malam, John (2020) ‘Mummies: Riveting Reads for Curious Kids (Mega Bites)‘, DK Dorling Kindersley Limited (Kindle edition) 

Session 4: Neolithic 

FUNgineers: Digging Up the Past!: Neolithic – Session Video 

Learn about the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis using Google Earth, and make homemade playdough to design your own stone circle. Be a Neolithic builder! 


Burgess, Christopher (2008) ‘Ancient Lewis and Harris: exploring the Archaeology of the Outer Hebrides’, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar. 

Google Earth  

Google Maps 

Historic Environment Scotland, Calanais Standing Stones  

Kerrigan, Emily. BBC GoodFood, Playdough recipe 

Session 5: Scottish Archaeology Month Special

FUNgineers: Digging Up the Past: Session 5 Video

Discover Iron Age brochs and design one in Minecraft!

September in Scotland means that it is Scottish Archaeology Month! FUNgineers joined in with this special video.


Armit, Ian, 2011. Towers in the North: the Brochs of Scotland. The History Press.

Burgess, Christopher, 2008. Ancient Lewis and Harris: Exploring the Archaeology of the Outer Hebrides. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Caithness Broch Project

Google Earth  

Google Maps 

Haggith, Mandy, 2020. ‘A Unique Glimpse into the Iron Age: Excavating Clachtoll Broch’, Current Archaeology Issue 367, October 2020.

Wester Hailes Library| 1 Westside Plaza, Edinburgh, EH14 2ST



Twitter: @SWEdinLibraries

The Heritage Resources Portal is an Archaeology Scotland initiative.

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Funded by Historic Environment Scotland towards realising Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

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Post Author: r.boyde