The Festival of Archaeology

Wandlebury Country Park and the Cambridge Young Archaeologists’ Club are inviting visitors to discover Iron Age Wandlebury. Part of the Festival of Archaeology, the largest celebration of archaeology in the world with hundreds of events nationwide this event gives everyone the chance to try their hand at Iron Age activities and discover the evidence of one of Cambridgeshire’s largest Iron Age Hillforts.

The Cambridge Branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club is very lucky as CambridgePPF let us meet at Wandlebury Hillfort. Over the last few months, we have been thinking about what life was like in the Iron Age and have tried lots of different Iron Age activities. We have investigated, measured and drawn one of the ditches and the older members researched and planned an Iron Age Trail.  We have thought about how museums and heritage sites interpret the history of the site for different visitors and have put all of this together to plan an event to help people find out more about Wandlebury Hillfort and life in the Iron Age.

On July 15th Young Archaeologists will help visitors to make pots, weave cords, throw slingshots, create model Iron Age walls and try their hand at a sandpit excavation. A trail will take people around the Iron Age Hillfort and we hope to have a gallery of reconstruction pictures created by the Cambridge Young Archaeologists showing what Wandlebury might have looked like 2400 years ago.

The Festival of Archaeology runs between 15 and 30 July and promises something for everyone on the theme of archaeology, to find out about other local events, go to https://www.festivalofarchaeology.org/

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Planning for the Festival of Archaeology

Next month on July 15th Cambridge YAC will be running an event at Wandlebury to help visitors learn about the Iron Age there.  At our meeting on Saturday Pippa, one of the YAC leaders, talked a bit about heritage interpretation. We then split into two groups and the older members thought about what key message they wanted to get across to visitors while the younger group though about all of the different sorts of audiences for the event.

The older group then went for a walk to plan a guided tour while the other group thought about activities for children and started some reconstruction pictures for a gallery that will be on display at the event.

Planning a pot making activity

This group planned a prehistoric pot making activity, wrote a risk assessment for it and thought about materials that would be needed.

Looking at different ways to decorate pots

They also thought about collecting natural materials to decorate the pots.

Another group listened to a talk about reconstruction pictures and then created some of their own.

Painting some pictures of Wandlebury in the Iron Age

 

Come along to the event between 11 and 3 on July 15th at Wandlebury Country Park!

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Iron Age Wandlebury and drawing ditches

This month Magnus, one of the YAC volunteers, talked to us about hillforts and what Wandlebury might have been like in the Iron age. We then learn about how archaeologists draw the profile of archaeological features like the ditches around hillforts.

We went out (in the rain!) to explore the ditch around Wandlebury hillfort.

Sketching the ditch profile

Firstly we looked at the shape of the ditch and sketched it.

After that Magnus stretched out a long tape measure across the top of the ditch and at every metre along we measure how far down it was to the top of the ditch. Using a scale of 1:20 we drew the profile of the ditch.

A sketch of the shape of the ditch

 

A measured drawing of the ditch profile

We then used people as a way of showing the shape of the ditch by standing in a line across it

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Wattle wall making

On Saturday we met at Wandlebury  to make some sections of wattle wall for an Iron Age house. As we knew it was going to be hard work we asked if parents would like to stay and help at this meeting and were lucky to have a good number of adults working hard! We think that they enjoyed themselves.

Some good team work

Checking the work

It took some practise to be able to twist and turn the willow at the end without it splitting- this team discovered that two people twisting the willow while bending it round worked- it was hard work though.

Success- the willow was bent around without splitting!

We had a break from house building and had a go at using a sling shot- it’s harder than it looks.

Lining up ready to have a go at using a sling shot

Some of us tried paining faces with Iron Age designs.

Back to house building after having a go at face painting

At the end of the meeting we have managed to get a lot done on six sections of the wall.

Showing off a very neat section of wattle wall

We were really lucky with the weather and had a great morning but realised that weaving willow sticks in and out is hard work!

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March meeting – washing finds

This month we washed the finds that club members had picked up during the fieldwalking last month. It was important to keep each bag of finds separate at the Cambridge Archaeology Field Group will be plotting out where everything was found to help them look for patterns.

Washing the finds

Everything was carefully washed using toothbrushes. Terry from the CAFG asked us to make sure that all of the edges of broken pottery were clean so that the specialist could look at them.

Carefully washing the mud from the finds

After we had washed everything Terry showed us some flint tools and we had a go at drawing pottery.

Many thanks to Terry and the CAFG for their help

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