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, 17 October 2013

Images from Discovery Visits

Both Chesters and Housesteads have Facebook pages - occasionally there are images of the Discovery Visits.
This one is of a Testudo at Housesteads and this one in from today's Voluntarii at Chesters 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Comments from a Discovery Visit at Housesteads

I've delivered quite a few "Meet a Roman Soldier"  Discovery Visits at Housesteads this term.  This primary school from County Durham were so enthusiastic and the Teacher had such nice things to say, that I just had to share.

Thanks very much for the kind words.

Thank you so much for a lovely day at Housesteads. My class thoroughly enjoyed such an informative and exciting opportunity to learn how to be a Roman soldier. It was educational and fun and pitched at just the right level for an excitable group of 7-year olds. I don't think they even noticed that it was raining all day! Your knowledge and enthusiasm made Housesteads come alive for the children and I know that the parents who came with me were as impressed as I was at the high level of subject knowledge and the Latin drill commands too.
We all had a great day and I will certainly try to organise this again next year (hopefully in better weather!)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Recruitment and Reward - September 2013

 -a selection of short diversions for adults and families...

...that's how the blurb described the two days I was involved in!
Slightly different venues, Vallum Farm on the 14th September and Walby Farm Park on Saturday 21st September.  Both are part of the Hadrian's Wall World Heriatge Site, the entrance to Vallum Farm being at Milecastle 18 and Walby Farm is between Milecastle 62, found in excavations in 1999, and milecastle 63.  There's not much to see, but if you try hard you can make out the impression left by the Vallum.

A small select team from The Deja Crew, Shamus the Storyteller, Muriel the Herbalist and Victor the Veteran, where there...
Not quite out usual backdrop, this was indoors at Walby.

Shamus in his Den.

But Muriel made it seem like a home from home...

As you might suspect,
it was a little different at the Farm Park...

There were still plenty of voluntarii wanting to sign up for 25 years in the Auxilary!
and finally, if you fancy a giggle - where did Walby get this image from?  It's almost as old as me!!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Where next...

Saturday 15th - Recruitment and Reward - Vallum Farm 11:00am to 4:00pm.  It will be nice to return to Vallum Farm and Milecastle 18.  I was there for the Heritage Open Days last year.  This time I'm with Shamus the Storyteller and Muriel the Herbalist.  There will be fun and activities for all

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rufus in Ravenglass

Last weekend I was with The Deja Crew at Ravenglass, more recruits needed for the mill that is the Roman Army.
I was on the Platform of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway  an amazing place, but as usual, didn't manage to get a photo of myself next to one of their amazing locomotives.  It's difficult to whip out a camera when you're a Roman!
They are a friendly bunch,

 ...willing to have a go...

 ...with a little training...

 ...they could even become useful troops!

We were busy, some people even came back both days, to continue the experience.  Other members of The Deja Crew were on the Station and two were at the Pennington Hotel.
The whole even was part of a month long celebration of Ravenglass and Eskdale heritage - Lives in the Landscape.  

There is an ongoing excavation of the vicus next to the fort site, just a few minutes walk south of the village, with report on their blog - Romans in Ravenglass - the excavation ends with an open day on 21st September.  There will be a local presentation in November.

A grand time was had by all who came along, thanks for making it such a fun weekend.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

September looks busy...

The kids are back at school and it's looking like a busy Autumn term.

Firstly, there's an event of some kind every weekend in September.

The Deja Crew are over in Cumbria at Ravenglass as part of the 'Lives in the Landscape' celebration.  This is a month long series of events celebrating the lives, past and present, all taking place in Ravenglass and Eskdale.  As their press release says,

Find out who has walked this on this landscape before you - was it the Romans, Vikings or Wainwright enthusiasts? Have you ever pondered who pulls the pints in pub, runs the post office and village shop or farms the land? Maybe wondered who lives in the castle on hill and how a narrow-gauge railway ended up in the Western Lake District?
That is our living landscape, shaped by people from the past and the present and the custodians of some of the finest landscapes, coast and heritage in England.  The community of Ravenglass and Eskdale offer inspiration, relaxation, and contemplation as they open the valley for a month long celebration of their lives in this rugged and beautiful landscape. 
Victor the Veteran will be there, moving around the village between the Pennington Hotel, The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and the Site of the Fort of Glannoventa - could be translated as the "Market-by-the-Shore"; although some think it's called Itunocelum.  Archaeologists are on site for a month-long exploration, and they will be blogging - Romans in Ravenglass.

What I need to know...

image from the article - ALSTON 220AD: Gladiators, Bones and Pies - http://www.foodlinkcumbria.org.uk

...is this becoming some kind of a trend - this was July, on the South Tynedale Railway and now appearing on the Ravenglass and Eskdale - I see some interesting images on the way!

15th September - a welcome return to Vallum Farm and Milecastle 18 on Hadrian's Wall for a Heritage Open Day.

21st September - another new venue, Walby Farm Park - almost on top of the Wall between Milescatles 62 and 63.

28th/29th September - maybe another Roman at Bede's World - watch this space...

Add to this
  Discovery Visits to Housesteads and 'Meet a Roman Soldier' at Chesters Roman Fort, Famil Man workshops still to be booked in and it looks like September will be loads of fun!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Marvellous Maryport - "Great! I loved it!"

That comment sums it up - The Deja Crew spent 4 days at Maryport and We loved it and so did the people who came to see us!  Despite some really wild weather, it really was a marvellous 4 days.

I'll let the feedback comments speak for themselves,

"Fantastic for kids, and adults to learn about Roman Times. Thank You." 
"Lovely idea. Informative, interactive, enjoyed by all." 
"Excellent demonstrations and hands on fun for the kids"

"The kids really enjoyed getting their hands dirty."

Kids are fully engaged - great activity. Thanks.

I really enjoyed this it was really interesting to learn so much about the weaving and it was brilliant to have a go myself too - thanks very much. 

The kids loved being soldiers. Thanks.
...and from the 'Pop-Up Shop in Maryport High Street...

Thank you! You see things in museums but it is a privilege to handle things.
"Very enjoyable. Informative and have learned so much. This is just fantastic for Maryport and for showing people what can be done and how interesting to see all the skills people had and still have. Thank you."

"Great, do it again sometime"

Thanks to everyone who came along, we are glad we made such an impression. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

and next - Love Maryport Roman Celebration

Victor the Veteran will be at the Love Maryport Roman Celebration from 15-18 August, with the rest of The Deja Crew


Rufus Aelius Victor will be at Senhouse Roman Fort on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th, followed by The Wave Centre on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th August.  There will be opportunities to try on a Roman Soldier's armour and other kit and maybe even a couple of drill sessions.

There are loads of other things going on, official details here or check out The Deja Crew Blog

I'll post more details in a couple of days - hope to see you there!

Thanks to Hadrian's Wall Trust and Photographer, Andrew Heptinstall for the image

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Give a teenager a camera...

I decided I needed some new images of Victor the Veteran, I went to Segedunum, got the tunic out, gave my teenage son a camera and this is what happened...

Evocatus per murum

helmet's still a bit wobbly

where's the other three...

He said this was my best angle...

back in the Auxiliary

The Officer's a bit quick with his vine staff

in to the Bathhouse....

Thanks to Fortuna!
There's another 80-odd images, but that's enough for now...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Alston AD200 Gladiators, Bones and Pies

A wonderful write-up on the event at Alston a little while ago - Alston AD200 Gladiators, Bones and Pies  - there's even a picture of me (although you do need to scroll down to near the end!)  Thanks very much!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Busy July...

July has been quite busy.
 Loads of 'Family Man' sessions, including a whole day in a nursery for around 40 Dads and their children!  I've done evening sessions at Once Brewed Youth Hostel, school groups at Segedunum and Roman Army Boot Camp at Arbeia Roman Fort..  Last Saturday Victor the Veteran was finally promoted and awarded some medals

There was even a brief moment where I was asked to impersonate the Emperor Hadrian!  The event was Epiacum: ALSTON 200AD, a celebration of things Roman and Family Fun in Alston.  Victor the Veteran was asked to ride the South Tynedale Railway chatting about life in the Roman Army as the train made it's way past the Fort of Epiacum (Whitley Castle).  Perhaps I should have gone under the name of Titus the Tank Engine!!
As usual an Auxiliary with a camera doesn't really work, so I'm relying on others for some photos, including me launching a book - Hadrian and his Wall by Paul Frodsham.

Next weekend I'm off to Chilton Village Gala, to try my hand at a new activity - details will follow soon.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Lovely Lanercost

Things have been busy over the last fortnight - Discovery Visits at Housesteads, Family Man sessions in primary schools across Tyneside and Wearside and an evening session with Victor the Veteran at Once Brewed YHA for a group from St Helen's.  The weekend of 15th/16th June saw The Deja Crew at the Lanercost Experience Tea Rooms.  We set up a small Roman Forum,

as usual Victor the Veteran wasn't too far away...

I'm sure that's not as tidy as Prefect would like!

Shamus told stories

Nest spun thread and wove cloth
Muriel used her herbs to good effect

and Gaius Bellicus made pots

We talked to many interested folks, including a busload of Americans on a whistlestop tour of Hadrian's Wall, they found us so interesting that the coach driver had to rev the engine and toot the horn to get them onback on board!!

The next Deja Crew event is
Maryport - 15th to the 18th of August where we'll be at Senhouse Roman Museum and Roamin' about the Town of Maryport!   
Hope to see you there.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Where's Rufus?

In addition to working with schools and other groups, this Summer I'll be out and about as Rufus Aelius Victor at a number of public events.

15/16 June - The Roman's are Back! - This time at Lanercost Tea Rooms, The Deja Crew will be helping to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Hadrian's Wall National Trail.  There'll be Storytelling with Shamus, Herbs with Muriel, Potter Gaius Bellicus, Nest the Weaver, Sulwyn making Jewellery and of course Rufus Aelius Victor

29 June - Arbeia Roman Fort - Victor the Veteran will be running a 'Roman Boot Camp' for new recruits - more details will follow, when I've worked out what that is!

27 July - Chilton Village Gala - There'll be a Roman encampment with Roma Antiqua and some of The Deja Crew, we'll be doing Roman Crafts

15-18 August - Maryport Roman Festival - The Roman's are Back!  It's The Deja Crew again, this time we'll not only be at Senhouse Roman Museum, but we'll be out and about in Maryport.  There'll be Storytelling with Shamus, Herbs with Muriel, Potter Gaius Bellicus, Nest the Weaver, Sulwyn making Jewellery and me, Rufus Aelius Victor
More details will follow.

8/9 September -The Roman's are Back!  This time around the village of Ravenglass, The Deja Crew will be helping to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Hadrian's Wall National Trail.  There'll be Storytelling with Shamus, Herbs with Muriel, Potter Gaius Bellicus, Nest the Weaver, Sulwyn making Jewellery and of course, Rufus Aelius Victor.

Looks like it's going to be a busy Summer, I'll post the details as they happen.  Hope the Sol Invictus is kind to us

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Deja Crew events

The Deja Crew are involved in the celebrations for the Hadrian's Wall National Trail - it's 10 years old!  Over the Bank Holiday weekend we were at Bowness-on-Solway, helping the local community with their event, we even got on the local ITV news, where I got the length of the Trail wrong, that's what happens when the TV turns up early and unexpectedly asks for an interview!
The weather was glorious, I was extolling the virtues of the Roman Army at the Wallsend Tea Rooms, Shamus was telling stories in the churchyard of St Michael's Parish Church and the rest of the Crew were in the Lindow Hall for making jewellery, clay plaques and weaving - wonderful.

Tales from Shamus
On Sunday were part of Silloth Green Day and the weather was still glorious!

Sulwyn and  Nest 

Before the day started...

very much the veteran...

There'll be other dates as part of the Celebrations, I'll post them soon,

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Discovery Visits 2013

The Discovery Visits at Housesteads are beginning after Easter this year.


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 Rufus Aelius Victor 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
When: By arrangement Tue & Wed Term-time April - September
Length: 1.5 hours

for more info and How to book

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Tempus Fugit...

Time really does flee - the more literal translation of Tempus Fugit is 'time flees', rather than the more usual 'time flies'. The first recorded use is  in Virgil's Poem, Georgics  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgics if you  want to know more).

To round up last Autumn  -  quite busy, if a little wet and windy!

Heritage Open Days at Vallum Farm,
about 200 metres from Milecastle 18 on Hadrian's Wall

Gorgeous ice cream - check out  Vallum Farm
 3 fun packed schools activity days in September

although it did rain a little...

Add to this plenty of Discovery Visits at Housesteads, a Pirate Day and celebration of Saturnalia at Bede's World.

Now I'm looking forward to 2013.