Archaeology in Action at Northton
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  Rubh’ an Teampaill Archaeology Project – Press Release, July 2011

Archaeological Dig with Local Schools at Northton



Harris primary schools recently visited the archaeological sitesat Rubh’ an Teampaill, Northton to learn about an Iron Age broch and other structures currently being unearthed by archaeologists, and to get first handexperience of survey and excavation techniques.

Pupils and teachers from the participating schools later spoke with Julia, the Community Participation Officer at the Isle of Harris Landscape Partnership, and told her what they liked about their visits.

The archaeological trip tied in well with current teaching at Leverhulme Memorial School, Fiona MacLennan, a teacher at the school, felt:

"The kids took a lot from the day and it linked in well with teaching that was going on at the same time in the school about archaeology. Planning in activities with the school timetable is also important."

The information provided and the hands-on approach was well matched to the needs of school pupils, felt Morag MacPherson, of Scalpay Primary School:

"It was very interesting for their age group of kids. Although the finds table had artefacts that were not from Harris it was a good chance to handle something old. The information provided was enough, not too much but suitable for the school kids."

Although the actual dig site was reserved for the archaeologists, safeguarding the precious remains as they were dug up, there was an area provided for pupils to learn the skills of archaeological digging. The beach-dig was favoured by all. While busy working at the Rubh’ an Teampaill site the archaeologists took time to show the children around, demonstrating their work in action. While recognising the success of the trip, Arema Morrison, of Sir E. Scott Primary School, felt that she would have liked to have heard more information, from the archaeologists, about the Iron Age Broch itself, to help put the trip into context:

"The children thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the digging in the sand and the finds section. It would have been good if there had been an initial overview informing them about what was being dug, more information about the broch."

These activity days were organised and facilitated by Harris Development’s Landscape Partnership team and delivered by archaeologists from Birmingham Archaeology and the University of Birmingham.

When asked what they felt about their trip out to the archaeological site, it was clear that all the children had thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on opportunities and would eagerly welcome more activities where they could learn while participating alongside professionals at their work. This was not just a fun day out. A great deal of learning took place, about the site and its history and the profession of archaeology, Being able to handle and learn about archaeological finds and learning practical archaeological digging skills along the beach were at the top of the list.

They were so enthused by their experience that some expressed a strong interest in becoming archaeologists themselves!

The school archaeology trips were a success and there is clearly interest in the possibility of similar participatory opportunities in the future.

Teachers thought the venture had proved to be very interesting for primary school age children commenting that taking their pupils out onsite for hands-on learning, was particularly suited to the aims of Curriculum For Excellence. The opportunity to plan similar opportunities in the future with the Isle of Harris Landscape Partnership Scheme would be very welcome.

New Headteacher at Sir E. Scott School, Aileen MacSween, was delighted by the success of the trips and looked forward to working alongside the Landscape Partnership over the coming year in order to create active and outdoor learning learning opportunities, in line with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Aileen was keen to see the Gaelic medium promoted through its use in project educational resources made for school use:

"It is important the future educational material for primary schools to receive interpretative matieral/educational resources solely in Gaelic for the age group P1 to P3 and in bilingual for P4 to P7."

The Isle of Harris Landscape Partnership Scheme has planned a variety of built, cultural and natural heritage conservation and enhancement projects set for delivery over the next couple of years. The Scheme intends to continue to work closely with local schools, building further opportunities for active participation in local heritage sites and project work. The Partnership team will go into local schools in the Autumn in order to begin developing ideas.

The Rubh’ an Teampaill Community Archaeology Project is being delivered by Harris Development Limited through the Landscape Partnership Scheme and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund..

For Further details and information on the Landscape Partnership Scheme, please contact Julia Lawrie, Community Participation Officer, on 01859 502373 or email julia@isleofharris.com.

Boundary wall of Rubh' an Teampaill unearthed by University of Birmingham student archaeologists, as school pupils from Sir E. Scott Primary School take note.
Boundary wall of Rubh' an Teampaill unearthed by University of Birmingham student archaeologists, as school pupils from Sir E. Scott Primary School take note

Sir E. Scott Primary School pupils learn about archaeological artifacts from Jo, Community Archaeologist at Birmingham Archaeology.
Sir E. Scott Primary School pupils learn about archaeological artifacts from Jo, Community Archaeologist at Birmingham Archaeology.

School children from Sir E. Scott Primary School get stuck in at the beach dig, guided by Julia, Community Participation Officer, Harris Development Limited, and Penny, student archaeologist from the University of Birmingham.
School children from Sir E. Scott Primary School get stuck in at the beach dig, guided by Julia, Community Participation Officer, Harris Development Limited, and Penny, student archaeologist from the University of Birmingham.
 
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