February 2012:Medieval Monks and Monasteries

This session was all about activities relating to Medieval monks and life in a monastery.

The children played Top Trump Monks, working out the different jobs in  a monastery and who was more important.  They learnt about the History of Abingdon Abbey with a Dragons and Ladders gameboard designed for a recent Heritage Lottery Funded project.  You can download these games here.

The children also got to design their own illuminated letter like the ones in Medieval manuscripts. While anyone who got a bit bored could test their nose and investigate what herbs and flowers were used for making medicine at that time.



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January 2012: World War II activities

Apologies for the gap in our posts. Normal service has resumed.

In our January 2012 session we did a variety of World War II related activities.  Sarah Phillips, Learning and Access Officer from Wessex Archaeology brought along some of the resources created by their Coastal and Marine department on World War II.

A PowerPoint presentation proved that the children knew a lot more about World War II than Sarah, and we had a great discussion session on the “Archaeology” of the war – in other words, what remains today and what stories can it tell us about the past and what it was like to live in Britain at that time.


We talked about World War II finds discovered by industries working at sea on the seafloor, such as fragments of aicraft wrecks, bullets and guns.  We examined geophysical survey image of WWII wrecks on the seabed such a sunken German submarine, which is located off the South Coast of Britain. We also talked about anti-aicraft blocks, pillboxes, mulberry harbours, decoy towns, maunsell towers and lots, lots more.  We nearly ran out of time for the actual activities.

The activities included dressing up in a real World War II airman’s uniform and exploring what the clothes could tell us about the experience of being in a WWII bomber plane.

We decoded enigma codes and identified the location of enemy and ally ships in an adapted version of Battleship.

Lastly we adapted domestic ships and boast for service in the navy and readied them for battle.


The day was alot of fun and this is obviously a topic that the YAC finds interesting.


Resources used on the day can be downloaded from Wessex Archaeology’s webpages.

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July 2010: Trip to Stonehenge Landscape

We went out and about this month to the Stonehenge Landscape. The visit had been organised for us by Andrew and Lucy from the National Trust. They took us for a walk through the landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

We stopped at various sites to discuss what they were and what they had been used for, including the Cursus Barrows and the Cursus.

We also learnt about the plants and environment of the area.  It was a great outing, it was nice and sunny and Andrew and Lucy were excellent guides. Thank you National Trust.

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June 2010: Mapping

In June our session was looking at maps and how archaeologists used maps to help them find out about sites. We had several activities to take part in. We looked at Ordnance Survey maps and symbols; we had a real OS maps and had to learn how to read grid references to look for places.

We also used maps to look at place names and what they mean and we carried out a map regression exercise to look how places change over time and how archaeologists can use this information to help look for places to dig. To finish the session we sat out in the sun and drew a plan and map of the museum garden.

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May 2010: South American Archaeology

This month we looked at South American Archaeology, the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs. We had to find the answers to quiz questions hidden around the hall, so that we could find out more about the civilisation’s that lived in South America.

We then had the choice of two activities, building a Mayan Temple and making Inca information cards that could be used as a game.

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April 2010: Buildings of the Cathedral Close and Medieval Salisbury

We had a wander around Salisbury Cathedral Close looking at the different buildings.

We had to look at the windows and doors to see if we could date the buildings and also look at the brick size and bonding.

We then had a Medieval Meander through the city of Salisbury looking at the medieval timber framed buildings and trying to see if we could decide what framing and bracing they had.  It was good to get out and about but it was a bit cold!

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March 2010: Communication through the ages

This month we looked at communication through the ages, we made semaphore flags and sent messages to each other.

We looked at coded messages then made our own secret messages and learnt how the Egyptians left messages on walls using hieroglyphs.

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February 2010: Vikings with Julian Richards

This month Julian Richards joined us to talk to us about Vikings. After an introduction to the Vikings, we made Jewellery built a Viking boat complete with dragon heads and shields (DSC_0335); we tried some Viking food and played a Viking game (DSC_0338). The pickled herring wasn’t very popular for some reason!!!(yummy)

Making jewellery

Making jewellery

Building a viking boat

Building a Viking boat

Playing a Viking game

Playing a Viking game

Cat tries some pickled herring

Cat tries some pickled herring

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January 2010: Time Line

This month we had several activities to carry out looking at different periods in time. We looked at the Egyptians, drawing Egyptian symbols and gods and looking at their clothes.

Egyptian drawings

For the Romans we used finds from an actual Roman Villa to try to decide which room they could be from. We also looked at the Victorians; we got to try writing with ink pens and playing Victorian schoolyard games.

At the end of the session we put together a Time Train to see what happened when.

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Christmas Party

December saw us having our annual Christmas party, with fancy dress, games, competitions and party food.

Lots of the YAC members had dressed up.

We played the chocolate coin race, the magic carpet race, musical wrapping paper and our old favourite black death pass the parcel to name just a few of the games.

Our competition was to build the tallest tower possible using just newspaper and sticky tape; there were some great efforts.

We all ate lots of yummy food and everyone got to take a party bag home with them. It was a great party.

We’re all looking forward to 2010.

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