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

Monday, 25 June 2012

Best School Trip Ever!

It's Official.
Picture the scene,
 it's raining, a group of damp school children have just finished a session with Rufus Aelius Victor, the Evocatus and are now getting their hands dirty with Gaius Bellicus, the Potter - a voice from the back says  'this is the best school trip EVER!'   
Makes it all worthwhile.
The weather was good for the first 2 days, so bright the camera on my phone couldn't cope with the sunshine!

 Feedback from a Teacher
The quality of the learning experience was excellent.  The children (and staff!) thoroughly enjoyed their time at the Fort, and learned much about the Roman way of life.  The Roman soldier was very popular, with his drill and shield formations,
However the last day was a bit wet, but the Children and Teachers were equal to the task;
Thank you for a wonderful day in Piercebridge we all really enjoyed the activities and the children had a great time even though it was wet.  I would definitely recommend this trip and if it was carried out again next year we would definitely come again.  Thanks again. 
Well done to all the Children and the Staff that came with them!

This is the first time that Schools Workshops have been held at Morbium.  The site is looked after by the Head of Steam - Darlington Rail Museum and Darlington Brough Council.  We ran schools activities during the morning, the children met the Commanding Officer's Wife - Aurelia (Sarah Gouldsbrough, the Learning Officer from the Head of Steam); a Potter - Gaius Bellicus (Graham Taylor from Potted History) and myself, a Veretan from the Legions.

During the afternoons we were there for the Public.  We had a good number of visitors, many local to the village.
It was a really good 3 days - we even got a mention in The Northern Echo on Wednesday 20th June.
Hope to see you all again next year.

Roman Roadshow CANCELLED

The Teacher Twilight event at Housesteads Roman Fort has been cancelled - only 2 teachers could make it! Hopefully English Heritage will be able to run it sometime in the future, if they do I'll post the details.

Monday, 18 June 2012

On detachment at Morbium

Over the next 3 days I'll be travelling south on Dere Street looking for new recruits at the fort of  Morbium, known to the local Brigante tribe as Piercebridge.  During the afternoons we'll be on site for the general public, everyone welcome.
Come and have a look at this little visited fort.

Teacher Twilight Event at Housesteads Roman Fort

Do you want new ideas on teaching the Romans? Do you want to meet experts who can bring the history of Hadrian’s Wall to life? If so, English Heritage would like to invite you to our FREE teacher's twilight event. Discover what exciting offers are available from attractions along the Wall.
Have a look at the Teachers Event Flyer for more information and how to book your place.
Hope to see you there.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Did the Romans do the Olympics?

The Olympic Torch made a little detour from the pre-planned route today for a quick visit to Housesteads Roman Fort.  Deftly finding a gap in the rain, Charlotte Proud from Gateshead, nimbly dashed past Rufus Aelius Victor who just happened to be on guard duty near the north wall - well there you go!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Roman Roadshow Teachers Event - 27th June 2012

Come and find out how we can help you teach the Romans.

English Heritage are hosting a Teachers Event at Housesteads Roman Fort.  In partnership with The Deja Crew, Vindolanda, Segedunum, Arbeia, Hexham Abbey and others, we aim to Engage, Enthrall and Educate.
The event will be from 4:00 to 6:00pm on Wednesday 27th June at Housesteads Roman Fort and is FREE to attend.
 It's essential you contact Zoe Spring (01904 601962 or zoe.spring@english-heritage.org.uk) if you want to come along.
I'll post more details soon

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friend of Epiacum

One of the things I like about this line of work is the sense of continuity that sneaks up on you.  I have just become a 'Friend of Epiacum'.  In May 2010 is was lucky enough to be the Roman Army recruiter for Epic Epiacum (see blog post 27 July 2010) where over 200 local school children experienced this little known gem of a  Roman Fort.

Last year Cockfield Primary School who had been to Epic Epiacum, the year before asked me to visit their school and run a workshop.
22 May 2012 I was invited to the Launch of  the Epiacum Heritage, a volunteer run project that has come about because of the drive of Elaine Edgar

Stewart Ainsworth, of English Heritage and Time Team, has championed Epiacum for several years and told a 100-strong audience at the launch: “It is probably the best-preserved fort in the Roman Empire and a flagship for our project.” Mr Ainsworth, who is to be president of the Friends of Epiacum group, added: “Whitley Castle was at the hub of a thriving landscape and was vitally important..." (http://www.journallive.co.uk) 

The intention is to turn the site into a resource for schools and the local community.

The projects' website will be live in a few weeks at  http://www.epiacumheritage.org/  

Hopefully the project will continue to grow and grow and I wish Elaine and her fellow volunteers all the Very Best for the future.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Romans Return to Hardwick Country Park... Again!

For the Fourth Year in a row The Romans Return to Hardwick Country Park, near Sedgefield.  The weekend of the 25th and 26th of August will see The Deja Crew and others creating a Roman encampment within this beautiful landscape.   I'll post more details as they are confirmed or check with Durham County Council at
Hardwick Park Events

The Romans Return
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 August
11am-3pm / £4 each, £12 family
Our annual event is back. Come and learn
all about life in Roman times. Visit our living
history displays, see dramatic battles and
ballista demonstrations.

Discovery Visits 2012

The Discovery Visit season for English Heritage is off to a fine start.  Despite the Winter closures we've had half a dozen groups already.  There have been a couple of changes, there's only myself delivering the workshop now and the 'Discovery Visit' is only available at Housesteads, there are now different arrangements for Chesters.  However your school can still book for

Meet a Roman Soldier - Housesteads

Explore Roman military life and discover how the building of Hadrian's Wall affected the local population in remarkably different ways. Meet Roman Officer Centurion Maximus and discover what life was like on the frontier. Take on the role of a recruit and be taken through duties using drama and role play. Recruits will tour both inside the fort and the remains of the settlement beyond, using replica and real artefacts found near Hadrian’s Wall to find out about the lives of the soldiers and civilians who lived at Housesteads
for details and how to book

For educational visits to Chesters Roman Fort, there is the option of working with me as an 'Approved Educational Provider'.  Contact English Heritage directly on the new Bookings Number 0870 333 0606
they will pass on my contact details and we can arrange your sessions
(please note: the prices quoted on the EH website do not apply to workshops arranged this way)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

from Slave to Evocatus...

... in one weekend!

On Sunday I was Rufus, a slave to Bellicus the Master Potter at Coria (Corbridge).  Gosh it was cold, I did wish my Master could have issued bracae to go with the thin linen tunic, the locals wear them, why shouldn't I.  Still slaves can't choose to follow fashion.

The next day back to being Rufus Aelius, Evocatus and Signaller for the beacon lighting celbration at Arbeia Roman Fort, much warmer!

Didn't get a photo (it was dark), but here's the link   http://www.enews-twmuseums.info/microsite/flyer.php?nid=674