Wednesday, August 21, 2019

End of Archaeology Internship 2019...

Danielle has now finished her internship with us- here she reflects over the past 8 weeks!

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 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 -

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Community Archaeology in Action!

Our archaeology intern, Danielle is in the last few weeks of her placement - and she has had a busy time so far! Here she talks about some of her community archaeology sessions:

I have been delivering sessions to groups from different community services from the local area. I spent a day at the lovely Clarion House in Roughlee taking Young Carers on an archaeological journey after they'd had a morning of minibeast hunting in the garden with Alison from Ernest Cook Trust. They made prehistoric-style pots, matched Roman emperors to their coins, identified an industrial era object from broken pieces, and interpreted a pile of modern rubbish!

I took my clay and twigs to Whitehough Outdoor Centre where a group of Adult Carers came to create their own Prehistoric Pottery, too. With the help of UCLan tutor, Rick Peterson (and despite the rain!) they created some really great pots and learned about local archaeology, what inspires people to get into archaeology, and opportunities to get involved in future community archaeology events.

I have also worked with two People Enjoying Nature groups to bring them activities which go 'beyond the trench', demonstrating the other side of archaeology which is not just digging. One group took part in the Uncovering Archaeology journey but with an added emphasis on how each individual activity aimed to demonstrate a different part of archaeological research. The others learned how to spot 'invisible archaeology' by walking in the footsteps of Romans on the Roman road in Downham Village and took part in a discussion about the lack of in-depth archaeological research in the area. They then took part in Prehistoric Pottery making (a kind of experimental archaeology) and sorted and cleaned some real finds from local farm, Gazegil Dairies. 

I also worked with the artists-in-residence at In-Situ, Lunchtime Practice, to provide the inspiration and information for a Beginners Guide to Archaeology, as well as a certificate which went along with the Uncovering Archaeology activity. These Beginners Guides will be handed out at all my events, as well as (hopefully!) future community archaeology events hosted by Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, and has a handy list on the back of local community projects and links to where people can find out about more Community Archaeology projects.

Into my final week now, and I have just one more session to deliver! Over the past few weeks we have been exploring 'What is Community Archaeology in 2019?' and 'What does an archaeologist look like?'. Through the sessions and guides we have created, I hopefully have shown people that there is a lot more to archaeology than just excavation, as well as how there are lots of different tools and technologies which are now used by different archaeologists. 

Please look out for my final blog post over the next few weeks!