Exploring, Discovering, Learning

I want to make the Past, both History and Prehistory, more exciting, relevant and 'hands-on'. It's a fun place with some great stories, I want to share these with everyone.
I work with schools, museums, community groups, either at their place or outdoors in the Landscape.
I develop and deliver projects. I create resources. Exploring the Past and our shared heritage, bridging the divide and Discovering the links between these artefacts, sites or museum and Us. I try to put objects back in context, helping people Learn about the past. I use objects, both orginal and replica, costume, crafts and role play, in other words - Living History.

I'm a member of a small group of like-minded people - The Deja Crew

Thursday, 8 September 2011

New resource for Campaign! Make an Impact


Earlier in the year I worked with schools in Cumbria on Campaign! Make an Impact.  As the project was funded by Hadrian's Wall Heritage, one of the tasks was create a resource to help Teachers' run their own project using the Frontiers of the Roman Empire as an inspiration.
I've just discovered that the resource is now available as downloadable pdf's on the web - see the Hadrian's Wall Country website (http://www.hadrians-wall.org/) click on the links below. 

It's really a toolkit to help you run your own project and details the two approaches I've used with schools over the last year or so.  It's broken down into 17 pieces to help with the downloading (listed below).  The section tell you all about what Campaign! is and how to do it, signposting you to resources on the British Library website.  This is followed by the all important Links to the Curriculum section.  Then we demonstrate how the British Library's model can be applied to a historical campaign, using resources for the 1870's Campaign to excavate Arbeia Roman Fort before houses were built on the site.  In Cumbria we used the Roman Archaeology to give us evidence of what life was like and flag the 'Citizenship Issues' that would affect people at the time.  This gave the students the bridge to learn about Campaigning and how things can be changed today.  The links are below, any thoughts or comments welcome and if you do use it with your students, please let me know,

SECTION                                                                        FILE SIZE
Campaign - What and Why .pdf.........................................241kb
Campaign - How to do it.pdf..............................................328kb
1 CMAI - a short guide for schools.pdf...............................375kb
2 CMAI - teachers handbook.pdf.......................................580kb
3 CMAI - student handbook.pdf.......................................4.5Mb
4 KS2 Curriculum Links.pdf................................................33kb
4a KS3 Curriculum Links.pdf..............................................40kb
5 Looking at Historical campaigns grid.doc...........................17kb
5a linking old and new campaigns.doc..................................17kb
6 Arbeia - Historical Campaign Resource.pdf....................8.5Mb
6a Arbeia - Project Plan.doc................................................32kb
6b Arbiea - case study Home Educated children.doc.............50kb
7 Roman Archaeology - Project Plan.doc.............................26kb
7a Roman Archaeology - Tullie House visit booklet.doc........23kb
7b Roman Archaeoogy - case study - Ivegill.doc..............8.94Mb
8 Finding more information.doc............................................22kb
8a Who to contact for more information.doc.........................15kb

End of the Summer

The last event of the Summer was my contribution to the Senhouse Roman Festival, now in it's third year.  Over July and August, The Deja Crew have done a total of 5 days, with myself and Maximus there for the 21st of August.  We brought the Roman Army to life again, recruiting new Auxillia and making Roman Games.  The weather was a little mixed, so it was a quieter day than we'd hoped, but that meant we had the luxury of being able to spend time with interested individuals, something that doesn't always happen at busier events. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

6/7 August - The Romans Return to Hardwick Country Park

For the third year running The Deja Crew were invited to 'The Romans Return' Event at Hardwick Country Park, despite the torrential rain on the Saturday it was again a very popular event.

For some reason most recruits prefer the Offcier's Crest to that of the lower ranks!

The event gave me a chance to try out some of the new bits of kits I've been making -

Subarmalis or arming jacket

Wooden Practice Gladius
As far as I can tell, there is very little evidence about what Romans wore under their armour.  The word 'subarmalis' is mentioned in a few places, but none have ever been found (they are made of things that decay quickly).  There are some images on Trajan's Column and wall paintings, so my attempt is really a bit of guesswork.
There are references to recruits training with weighted wooden swords to build their strength, this one is twice the wieght of an ordinary gladius.

And finally...
                     ...Roman Underpants!

Subligaculum or 'little binding beneath!
A sort of loin cloth, there are images from Pompeii showing what Romans wore beneath their togas.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

25th July - Yak Yak on the Wall

Towards the end of July the YakYak group from Tullie House walked the Hadrian's Wall Trail.  Yak Yak is Tullie's group for 14 to 19 year olds (see http://www.tulliehouse.co.uk/yak-yak ).   They began at Bowness-on-Solway and by the time they reached Once Brewed they had been joined by  BMuse, a similar group from the British Museum.  Here they had a day free from walking to visit Vindolanda and then to join me and Gaius the Potter (Graham Taylor from Potted History) for a  afternoon of Roman Army Activities.

The courtyard outside the Youth Hostel rang to shouts of "Poro!" and "sin-dex-sin-dex" as they drilled, they tried the armour and weapons and discovered a little about the soldiers that garrisoned the places they explored on their trek.  Graham Taylor from Potted History ran a pottery workshop where they group made mini altars to be fired and delivered later.  
A few days later the group successfully completed the journey to Segedunum, you can read all about it on their Blog   (visit http://www.yakyakonthewall.wordpress.com/ )

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

10th July - Roman Victory at the Railway

The Roman invasion of Darlington’s Head of Steam Museum was a complete success on Sunday 10th July with over 480 visitors. Roma Antiqua re-enactment group were on hand to demonstrate Roman life as well as ‘Maximus Scratchius’ from Svensons Fleas Circus, Graham the Potter and Roy the Roman. The Piercebridge divers gave an excellent lecture about the artefacts recovered from the River Tees and visitors could also read about Piercebridge Roman Fort. For the lucky few who booked early in the day, a special vintage bus took visitors to the Fort for a guided tour by Durham County Archaeologist Dr. David Mason.
or so said the offical news update (see http://www.darlington.gov.uk/Leisure/headofsteam/news/news.htm)  

Another busy day making Roman Dog-tags so we didn't lose any of our new recruits, although after trying on armour and tasting fish sauce some of them were regretting their decision to sign up for 25 years!

Cockfield Primary School - 1 July 2011

The end of Summer Term provided an opportunity to work with one of the schools that had visited Whitley Castle as part of the Epic Epiacum event last year.  The current Year 3/4 class had just finished the Romans as a topic and wanted a workshop to reinforce their learning.  We made giant timelines, handled real and replica artifacts, imagined what life was like for the local tribespeople, the Brigantes, before the Romans came, we looked at how life would change and finally dressed up as Roman Soldiers discovered what it was like to drilled as new recruits.
It's good to begin to develop relationships with schools in this way and I'm intending to develop more workshops for schools, so watch this space...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Tullie House - Opening of the new Roman Frontiers Gallery

June saw The Deja Crew helping to celebrate the opening of the new Roman Gallery at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.  Not only did we have Pottery and Weaving workshops in the gallery, but there was jewellery making and willow weaving in the garden and myself and Maximus recruiting new voluntarii in to the Childen's Roman Army and marching them to Carlisle Market Place.
A Grand Day was had by All.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Coming up over the Summer

The bookings are starting to come in for over the Summer, in addition to the Discovery Visits for English Heritage at Chesters and Housesteads, I'll be at
  • Tullie House 25th June for the opening on the new Roman Gallery (see Tullie House events)
  • Head of Steam 10th July for more Romans on the Railway
  • Hardwick Hall 6th and 7th August - Romans are Coming
I'll add the details and more dates as they come in.

Change of Name

The Tyne Team is no more....
...long live The Deja Crew!!!
Due to a number of issues, similarity to a TV Archaeology programme and a group of management consultants in Allendale we have decided to change our name to The Deja Crew.  We are doing the same things - Living History and costumed interpretation. 
Check us out at www.thedejacrew.com 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Bread, Beards and the Bronze Age

Gradually getting caught up with things.

23rd February and another new experience, making and baking flatbreads on on open fire. The event was Bread, Beaker, Beards and Britons at Segedunum. Part of the of the BBC Hands on History events, the Beakers were being made by potter Graham Taylor and I was making a simple dough without yeast that could be baked on a flat stone next to the fire. I took along a small saddle quern and examples of the kind of grain people would have grown and ground to make bread.

It more or less worked. We made about 60 'cakes', but had difficulty cooking them all. The dough was easy enough, but I really needed a bigger fire with more ash to keep the stone warm enough. Perhaps less of the hard wood logs and more of the twigs and brushwood gathered from the woodland. Still it was great fun and I'll definitely try this one again.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Campaign! Make an Impact - What's Next?

The funding for Campaign! Make an Impact is just about over and in the current climate it will be difficult to gain more, so I thought it time to mention some of the Outcomes and Impacts from the last year.

The Story
We started with 3 groups along Hadrian's Wall, 2 primary schools, from Newcastle and Carlisle and a group of home educated childrenfrom across the North East. They did such good work that Jan Mears, Study Support Officer from North Tyneside Council felt the project should get bigger. We attracted a further 9 schools from Tyneside. This work enable another 2 schools from Cumbria to join in. Discovery Museum began to run workshops based on the English Civil War and their 'Seige and Storm' exhibition.

The Outcomes
  • Regional Network to continue to the work.
  • 14 schools involved with 4 more working with Discovery. Discovery are intending to carry on offering Campaign-in-a-Day workshops.
  • 9 museums or other heritage sites involved, Tullie House, Arbeia, South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Segedunum Roman Fort, Blyth Battery, Stephenson Railway Museum, Newcastle University Special Collections, Woodhorn, and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums Outreach Team.
  • Regional Conference, 16th February at Discovery Museum attended by 45 educators and professionals from across the region. Around 100 children involve in the project came in the afternoon and listened to presentation from 6 school groups.
  • 2 schools will travel to the British Museum as a reward for their hard work.
  • Resources on the North Tyneside Learning Platform and planned resources for Hadrian's Wall and on REALM (Resources for Exploring Archive, Libraries and Museums in the North East).

The Impacts

We are only Year 3, but We can Make a Difference - Primary School

I'll add some more quotes soon

Discovery Visits 2011

The Discovery Visits at Housesteadsand Chesters have begun again. The first one was on Valentine's Day - 14th February, when 55 children from Tyneside donned their tunics and joined the 'First Tungrians' for the day. It only snowed at little! More are booked after Easter, when hopefully the weather will warm up a little.

for more info or to book a workshop - http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/education/discovery-visits/housesteads-roman-fort/

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

2010 Round Up - Family Man Through the Ages

Fathers Plus and The North East Regional Museums Hub are working together on a programme called 'My Dad Matters'. It a new partnership which aims to help family men in Sunderland become more involved with their children’s learning.
At their launch even (Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, 2 October 2010)there was a gathering of around 15 'dads from the past'. From 'Iron Age Dad' (me) to 'Future Dad' and almost everthing in between. Have a look at
Watch out for future events on the Father Plus website at http://www.fathersplus.org/

Rounding up 2010 - The Eagles Have Landed


A New Year and time to tidy up last year and begin anew.

September and October saw the TYNE TEAM working on 'The Eagles Have Landed' a schools and community event programme to complement the touring exhibition of the same name. http://www.culture24.org.uk/history+%26+heritage/time/roman/ART308897897 for more info and where the exhibition is now.

We ran a 2 day public event at Segedunum (4/5th September), and a more in depth schools project involving Burnside Business and Enterprise College in Wallsend, then we followed the exhibition over to the other side of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site at Maryport. We ran another 2 day public event at Senhouse Roman Museum and on the . We wanted to highlight the impact of the sudden appearance of the sophisticated and intimidating Roman Legions would have had on the locals.

Talk about Culture Shock!

Each of our characters took a view on this, from the soldiers extolling the virtues of the Army and recruiting with the promise of an easy life and wages, to the local craftspeople who may have seen new business opportunities and those who would have viewed all this with suspicion and fear. After all what did the Romans ever do for us?

The schools project involved working closely with all of Year 7 from Burnside College, we ran drama and storytelling workshops, explored the identity of those who may have lived near Segedunum and created a ceramic 'sculpture' which will follow the exhibition to Tullie House in the Spring. Watch out for the 'Teacher's Pack' based on our work.