Experimental Archaeology: Learning about Craft and Technology in the Past

A suite of learning resources for a range of objects and technologies spanning from Mesolithic to modern times

In 2017-2019 ARCH ran experimental archaeology workshops, exploring issues of craft and technology from Mesolithic to modern times. The workshops were filmed, and edited videos have been posted online describing the various crafts:

  • Green woodworking
  • Textiles through the Ages, focussing on tablet weaving
  • Flint Knapping
  • Carved Stone Balls
  • Bronze Age Pottery
  • Bronze Age Metalworking
  • Bone and Antler Working
  • Pictish Carved Stones
  • Viking Ring Money
  • Medieval Coinage
  • Lead Seals and Ropemaking
  • Telford Technology

Blogs were also posted, providing insights and further reading. Videos and blogs can be accessed via the ARCH website.

The objects produced in the workshops, augmented by a few extra real and replicas, were gathered into four loans boxes. A teacher and archaeologists then worked together to produce learning materials to go with the boxes.

The resources consist of:

  • Information Sheets(written by Lachlan & Lynne McKeggie):
    • Object sheets. An A4 sheet about each object, with a picture of the object on the back.
    • Crafting Technology Sheets (identified with the prefix CT). These A4 sheets describe the process of each of the crafts.
    • When? Sheets. An A4 sheet with information about each period (Mesolithic to Medieval).
    • Additional image sheets. A4 sheets which augment the above.
    • Distribution maps. An A4 sheet describing the uses and pitfalls of the distribution maps.
  • Teaching Resources (written by Dave Peers):
    • Crafting Lesson plans. Five levels of lessons (nursery to upper secondary) relating to various crafts, including also a focus on artefacts relating to survival and technology.
    • Individual object plans. Each box contains a suite of lesson plans for primary or secondary level with further ideas for lessons relating to individual objects.
    • A self-guided lesson aimed mainly at adults.
    • Lesson Resources. A4 sheets for copying for use in the above.

In addition, there is also a lesson plan template so anyone can add any good ideas.

A full list of all objects and resources, with links for downloading, is available from the ARCH website.

Although the resources relate to the boxes with Highland artefacts, they can be used more widely, for example with other loans boxes, for explorations of craft & technology, or even for background information, eg for museum volunteers.

Funded by Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Heritage Fund)

(c) Historic Environment Scotland (c) Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Heritage Fund)

Posted by: Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH)

(c) ARCH

ARCH provides a range of opportunities for people interested in learning about and helping to preserve their heritage. See our website www.archhighland.org.uk for more information, or contact us on 077888 35466

Post Author: r.boyde