Friday, December 19, 2014

Student Rock Art

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you asked your students to express their own narratives in the style of ancient rock art? I did. And there was a point to it.

The exercise allows them to express any story, be it their adventures at the weekend, travel experiences, a fairytale, or a soap opera issue. Whatever they like.

They draw the image(s) and then swap with their peers. The group tries to figure out what the story was about. It can be much more difficult that you might think, and misunderstandings are almost guranteed.

Students quickly see that even within their own broadly culturally homogenous group, interpretation is fraught with difficulties. Which leads them to understand how tricky interpretation of (particularly prehistoric) material can be.

Plus, it's lots of silly fun! The prefect lesson to finish off the term before the holiday break.

Check out the first batch of uploaded images here:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stanton Drew fieldtrip

Just a short drive outside of Bristol are the beautiful stone circles of Stanton Drew. I accompanied Prof. Mark Horton and our enthusiastic third years on a fieldtrip that introduced secondary school students from Merchant's Academy to the world of Archaeology.

It was cold and windy, but nothing could dull Mark's excitement as he raced through thousands of years of history in just an hour. Students got hands on with the stones, climbing on top of the monuments and seeing the scale in person was quite impressive. They were amazed to hear how far away the source of the stonework was, and surprised to hear that it was once filled with timber posts. They ventured their own ideas on interpretation, and I must admit we were very impressed with some of their ideas - a bright bunch this lot!
Pof Mark Horton
Merchant's Academy students at Stanton Drew
As the sun set we headed to three stones behind the Druid's Arms pub. One appears to have fallen down over the ages. Mark tried out some experimental archaeology and his idea that the semicircular shape could have acted as a sound projection (video footage, below). Great fun and especially engaging as it was interactive. We also have plans to try and get students from the school to come on site to Berkeley during the summer.
Mark Horton laughing in front of a giant straw Minion... of course