Advanced archaeology at the archive. Museum of London Support materials AS/A2 study day

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1 Advanced archaeology at the archive Support materials AS/A2 study day

2 Contents National Curriculum links and session description 1-2 Example timetable 3 Practical guidelines 4 Visit preparation and pre-visit activities 5-12 Follow-up activities 13 Planning your journey 14

3 Curriculum links AQA Archaeology AS Module 1: Survey and Excavation (Sources and AS Module 2: Post-excavation, Dating and Interpretation (Techniques and Methods). Archive and finds processing. Excavation, processing, display and storage AS module 1: Survey and excavation How sites and landscapes are discovered and recorded and How sites are excavated. AS module 2: Post-excavation, dating and interpretation Analysis: How recorded material is analysed and Dating'. This session aims to create an understanding of: the process of handling of finds from their excavation, to recording, and/or display and archiving the identification, excavation and context of finds from one archaeological site preservation and survival of materials within the archaeological record. the ability to: make some identification of different animal bone material make some basic interpretation of the evidence of the site they have looked at. Religion and ritual in prehistoric Britain AS module 3: Religion and ritual (theme A). This session aims to create: key concepts relating to religion and ritual in prehistoric Britain and familiarity with the key periods and terminology key concepts in relation to the collections housed in the archive; Museum of London and knowledge based on the excavation of prehistoric sites in London using this information to do additional research to assist their Personal Study (A2 Module 6). Human and animal bones talks and animal bone workshop AS module 2: Post-excavation, dating and interpretation (techniques and methods) Analysis A2 module 5: Material culture, technology and economics (theme C) and module 6: Personal Study. This session aims to create: the ability to identify the main bones in the human skeleton an appreciation of the different ways in which we find human bone deposits 1

4 the ability to identify the main bones in an animal skeleton e.g. cattle. an appreciation of the different ways in which we find animal bone deposits an understanding of how early humans exploited animal resources, from hunter-gatherer societies through to domestication and intensification of farming an understanding of the main terminology and an ability to use it correctly. 2

5 Example timetable for Archaeology at the archive Registration Religion and ritual in prehistoric Britain Group 1: The archive and finds processing Excavation, processing, display and storage. Group 2: Human bones (15 students) 30 mins then swap Animal bones (15 students) 30 mins then swap Lunch Group 2: The archive and finds processing Excavation, processing, display and storage. Group 1: Human bones (15 students) 30 mins then swap Animal bones (15 students) 30 mins then swap Thames Explorer Trust Digging up the Foreshore (opportunities for practical archaeology) Depart The sessions will run once only and at the times stated in your confirmation letter so please arrive on time. 3

6 Practical guidelines To maximise the enjoyment and value of the visit please consider the following: the day is organised for 60 students. We will split the students into two main groups of 30 and then divide each of these groups into 15 professional archaeologists will run the workshops. Students are free to discuss points of interest or discuss any questions students should bring pens, pencils and notepads ensure that you have at least one adult for every 15 students and that the adults accompany them at all times make sure that the students know that the objects they will be handling are original lectures are no longer than 40 minutes and should be presented as useful preparation for university lectures. Encourage students to make notes and to be prepared to question the speaker at the end of the talk students should wear warm clothing and bring a packed lunch if you think you are going to be late please call the reception at Mortimer Wheeler House to let us know. Leave a message for Roy Stephenson on Cancellation charges We are able to offer these sessions free to schools thanks to generous funding. However, any cancellations will incur a charge. For details of cancellation charges please see Please note that accompanying teachers and adults are responsible for students behaviour at all times. 4

7 Visit preparation and pre-visit activities Preparation To maximise the enjoyment and value of the visit please consider the following: introduce to the group some general background about Museum of London. undertake at least one of the suggested pre-visit activities ask the group to think of some questions for the workshop leaders at the Museum. Pre-visit activities Recommendations before your visit: find as many sites as possible on the map so that students understand location to other geological and other man-made features, e.g. river Thames and the Roman wall use the information to provide your students with the background to some of the sites they will be learning about and the material they will be handling use the website links to provide examples and case studies in the students course work or exam work. This will make the visit more relevant for the students. 1. Religion and ritual in prehistoric Britain: pre-visit work Find the following sites on a map: Staines Farm Road, Shepperton, Middlesex Holloway Lane, Harmondsworth, Middlesex Nine Elms, Vauxhall, London (Both the London before London website and LAARC website have interactive maps you can use). Images and information about particular finds can be found on the Museum of London website. You can find finds from all these sites on the Museum of London website: London before London: ondon.htm 5

8 Or by directly following this link: You can also find general information about the Museum s prehistoric collections on the website. Information on specific sites: Staines Road Farm, Shepperton Carving out a Home Traces of a small circular ditched enclosure were found at Staines Road Farm, Shepperton in Like others of its type, it was probably the scene of gatherings celebrated with food, music and dance. The site was used over many generations. Its ditches were periodically re-excavated and rededicated with offerings that included human and animal remains, flint tools and pottery vessels. The site lingered long in the memories of the people who lived in the area. Almost a thousand years later it provided a focus for cooking and feasting, which was centred round a small hearth and a boiling pit served by a waterhole. (Gallery text from the London Before London gallery at Museum of London) Further information, including images of objects on display can be found on the Museum of London website: -> What s on -> Permanent Galleries -> London before London -> London before London website -> People: Carving Out a Home. This website also provides some excellent photographs of the archaeological site and the excavations. Or by following this link: hmode=themes Holloway Lane, Harmondsworth, West Drayton, Middlesex (Information from the LAARC London Archaeology Gazetteer) 6

9 Site references: HL82, HL84, HL85, HL87 (reference=hl (Holloway Lane) and year of excavation) HL82: Excavation in 1982 of an area of more than 2000sq m to the S and W of previous work (see HL80 and HL81 above) exposed, among the earliest features, a small series of Late Neolithic pits and clearance hollows, some of them apparently cut by a narrow, irregularly dug double-ditched track way running N-S. This was succeeded by a substantial double-ditched track or droveway of later Bronze Age date, running E-W. A group of small rubbish-filled pits, probably to be associated with this phase, produced pottery of post- Deverel-Rimbury type. A small group of later Iron Age pits was dug to the S of this trackway, and was partly overlain by a sub-oval Romano-British enclosure of probably mid-1st-c ad date, which delimited an area of intercutting pits and hollows. This enclosure appears to have continued in use into the 2nd c, and may be associated with an interrupted and much recut boundary ditch and part of a two-phase rectilinear field-system. No evidence of late Roman occupation was recovered, though the area was reoccupied in the Middle Saxon period when a small two-post sunken-floored hut was constructed in a small enclosure on the edge of the Roman field-system. HL85: Further excavation in 1985 revealed a series of prehistoric pits and scoops assigned to the later Neolithic period and Late Bronze Age. Part of a rectangular enclosure was also recovered, perhaps of later prehistoric date. Excavation continued in 1986, when pits, hearths and lengths of a shallow gully producing Late Bronze Age pottery were located at one end of the site. Investigation of an apparently rectilinear enclosure with opposed entrance, located the previous year, produced Late Bronze Age pottery from primary and secondary ditchfills. HL87: Excavations and a watching brief in 1987 to the E of the area examined previously (see HL85 above) revealed a series of pits and scoops of both Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and Late Bronze Age date, cut into the natural brickearth. One shallow scoop was cut through by a large vertically sided oval pit; the dismembered carcass of a young aurochs accompanied by six barbed and tanged flint arrows was revealed just above the floor of the pit. The bone was poorly preserved, but the animal was clearly of considerable size. It is dated to the Early Bronze Age on the basis of the arrowheads. To access this information go to the Museum of London Archaeology website: 7

10 You can also perform a Quick Search by entering keywords e.g. Holloway Lane. This will bring up other related sites and earlier excavations n the Holloway Lane area, including other prehistoric sites. Specific finds and pictures of specific finds can be found on the London before London gallery website. Follow this link: hmode=sections Nine Elms, Vauxhall, Central London London s first bridge? Dating from BC, this four-metre-wide structure seems to have led out to an island in the Thames, long since vanished. Not only could offerings have been deposited on the island, they could also have been hurled from the connecting bridge. A pair of bronze spearheads found tips-down amongst the timbers were probably sacred offerings on the part of a single individual. (Gallery text from the London Before London gallery at the Museum of London) This text can be found at: hmode=sections The bridge was the subject of a Time Team programme in The site also includes a reconstruction of the bridge: 8

11 1. Human bones: pre-visit work and information Spitalfields Woman From Museum of London site Digging up the Romans This lady lived in Londinium between AD300 and 400. Archaeologists found her remains in a Roman cemetery at Spitalfields in Her family had buried her in a lead coffin inside a limestone sarcophagus. The two coffins kept out the air and helped to preserve her bones. The museum's experts have learnt a lot about her by analysing her remains. 9

12 From the skull and pelvic bones we know she was female. When she died she was probably years old. From the length of her leg bones we think she was about 164cm tall. Tests on the chemicals in her teeth suggest she grew up somewhere warm. Her DNA is like that of people in modern Spain. She was buried with cloth made of wool, silk and gold thread. Only these tiny fragments survived. This cloth, the two coffins and the ornaments buried with her suggest her family was rich. For more information, including maps and photographs, go to: Article by Jenny Hall, Roman Curator, Department of Archaeological Collections and Archive, Museum of London for Classical Association News, No.24, June 2001: From Museum of London Archaeology, initial summary of the excavations in the Spitalfields area. 2. Animal bones The majority of the animal bones that you will be looking at in your finds processing session and animal bones workshop will be from domestic and farm animals, for example, dogs, sheep, cattle. The diagram below will help you with the main bones in a cow. Familiarise yourself with the difference to the human body. This will help you in your session at the archive. 10

13 3. The archive and finds processing Excavation, processing, display and storage. Find out about the work the archive does from the website. Prepare some questions to ask the tour leader. Find as much information as you can about the Medieval London gallery which opened in Introduction to the Medieval London gallery: Medieval London gallery website (providing information on objects and themes): 11

14 4. Introduction to field archaeology Shoreditch Park Archaeologists from Museum of London excavated the site at Shoreditch Park in the summer of 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of end of the Second World War. The foundations of four houses were uncovered numbers of what used to be Dorchester Street. These buildings were nearly completely destroyed in bombing raids between 1939 and It was first damaged during the Blitz of by aerial mines and incendiary devices. Between V1 and V2 rockets also hit the area. By the end of the war, some houses were still standing and others left in ruins. The streets were bulldozed and pre-fab housing was erected. In 1980 the area was cleared and turned into the present day park. The homes excavated originally date from the 1830s and the dig revealed a number of finds, including clay pipes, pottery, beads, toys and bottles. Local residents and schools participated in the dig, working alongside the professional archaeologists. A Channel 4 film crew from Time Team recorded the dig from July 4 to 24. Further work was carried out on the site in Additional information about the site can be found by following this link: logicalarchive/shoreditchce.htm The following pages contained the house layouts for the houses excavated and their location within the park. 12

15 13

16 Follow-up activities for the classroom 1. Exploring religion and ritual in prehistoric Britain a. Look at the Museum of London website: By following this path, you will find the microsite for the London before London gallery: -> Galleries -> London before London. b. Look at your notes from the talk on Religion and Ritual. c. Select the key points which you thought best described each of the following topics: Beliefs, Mortuary Practices, Religious and Ritual organisation and Location and Landscape. d. Using the Search features on the website and by using the gallery plans, find 3-4 objects which illustrate each point. e. Find out more about the sites the objects have come from by looking at the website or by finding out more via the Internet. 2. Finding out more about archaeological sites a. Look at the Museum of London website: By following this path, you will find the microsite for LAARC and the database of sites across London: -> Archaeology -> London Archaeological Archive and Resource Centre -> London Archaeology -> Who, why, where? b. Search for a site of interest either by geographical location or time period and answer the following questions: what can you find out about this site from the information you have found online? how would you find out more information about the site? Are there clues in the description of the site? what other sources do you think you could use? How would you find them? Try asking the archive by contacting them: have you compared the site today with the site in the past? have you tried the Ordnance Survey? by using the Advanced Search function, can you find a list of finds for the site or for a particular time period contained in the database? use the skills you have learnt in the Introduction to Field Archaeology session and in the Finds Processing session. 14

17 Planning your journey Mortimer Wheeler House 15

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