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

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.