So that just about wraps it up for me this summer. I finished up my placement by attending Clitheroe Food Festival dressed as a Roman, joining some great family events in Nelson and Brierfield, and my own (fully booked) event at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford. Thank you to everyone who came and I really hope you learned a lot about local archaeology and inspired a generation of new people to get into archaeology.
So, what was it all about?
My hopes for these sessions was to inspire interest in community archaeology, and hopefully break down the barriers that make it hard for people to get involved. I wanted to reach people of all ages and different backgrounds, and give them access to knowledge which will build their confidence and help them to feel comfortable exploring archaeology in the future.
My sessions were designed to show people there is more to archaeology than 'just digging', and that lots of different career backgrounds and skills are needed on an archaeological team. I did this by taking inspiration from different jobs and tasks that an archaeologist does, and reshape them into a fun, educational activity. I wanted to challenge preconceptions of archaeology and present it in a new way, proving that it is in fact a future-facing field which relies on, and encourages, public input.
For example, some of the sessions I delivered involved pottery and teaching participants how to make pinch pots and coil pots. These are techniques which have been used for thousands of years, and because many civilizations have created pottery, ceramic artefacts (or normally pieces of) make up a large percentage of artefacts found by archaeologists all over the world.
Other activities within some of the sessions included looking at how archaeologists interpret and read artefacts they find. We did this using our own rubbish and broken up pieces of modern pottery - no fancy archaeologist's technology, however the aims and engagement linked very strongly with how current archaeologists have to work.
I wanted to give people the opportunity to talk to professional and amateur archaeologists alike, and have sessions that involved the input of volunteers helping us put on the activities. Community archaeology aims to inspire people to find a place for them within archaeology, no matter their skills set, education, background or age.
I wanted to educate people about local heritage, build bridges between the past and today, and explain how archaeology is important in telling those stories and making those connections. I wanted to bring communities together under one share interest - archaeology.
Thank you very much to all the people who have participated in events, the volunteers who have helped out and the individuals who have worked with our sessions. I hope that those of you who did attend any of the sessions feel like you may want to get more involved in local archaeology or are more interested in the heritage of the Pendle Hill area.
If you are interested in getting more involved, the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership deliver a number of training events and volunteer opportunities through their Community Archaeology project. Call 01200 420 420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. We are also lucky enough to have different local history groups in the area, many of which organise a schedule of talks throughout the year - ask around your local village to find out more information. Pendle Archaeology Group are based from the Pendle Heritage Centre and they offer a number of walks and talks, as well as practical archaeology. Look at their website to find out more about how to become a member - www.foph.co.uk/archaeology/.