Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future


The entire loans service was suspended in May 2018 due to burglaries

We are aiming to reinstate the service from September 2019

Touch the Past with a CAT handling kit of real archaeological finds!

CAT KITS in the classroomCAT KITS in the classroomCAT KITS in the classroom

CAT KITs for Canterbury District schools

The first phase of CAT KIT production was a Heritage Lottery funded project. We built 60 kits of original archaeological finds and support materials for schools in the Canterbury District to keep in school to use in their teaching programmes.

So if you teach in a Canterbury District primary or secondary school and have never seen your CAT KIT, ask your colleagues about it.

Using a CATKIT

Using a CATKIT

“Thank you so much for the wonderful CAT KIT. The pupils at Canterbury High thoroughly enjoyed handling the different local artefacts…(they) left the session buzzing with enthusiasm for history”

“I found the children were very focused… One of the main factors that appealed to the children was the fact that everything in the CAT kit is ‘real’ and has survived hundreds of years, it is the genuine article!!”

“Our history department would like to use the CAT KITs again. It was such a success with our year 7 group that we’d like to introduce it to our new year 7s in September”

Each ‘CAT KIT’ is composed of:

• Pottery sherds, animal bone and building materials of Roman, medieval and post-medieval date.
• A booklet describing the finds, some teaching ideas for the classroom, links to our website and other useful information.
• A Feely Bag
• A pottery measuring chart
• A CD of images from THE BIG DIG excavations at Whitefriars
• All contained in a sturdy case


Download extra copies of the kit booklet of teaching and learning ideas here: catkit_phase1.pdf [8.6MB], if you have a Phase 1 CAT KIT (given to Canterbury District schools in 2005)

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

CAT KITs for Kent schools, clubs and interest groups


With the support of the Kent Archaeological Society and Kent County Council we made more CAT KITs.   So if you’re teaching, running a club or have another activity that could be enhanced by  handling real archaeological material, we can help you.

“The children were initially intrigued by the CAT KIT. They feel it is special. They like going over to it, looking at the artefacts, being able to hold them. It promotes speaking and listening to each other…They comment when they see similar artefacts in pictures, books etc.”

“The children were highly motivated and wanted to do more. Lovely hands on activity which benefited all”

“This resource was amazing. It helped look at misconceptions and it was wonderful to see the children explore these at first hand. The pack was easy to read and the items well kept in a neat box. Thank you!”

How to borrow kits

Please email the Community Archaeologist,
There is a charge of £15 for one CAT KIT loan. Depending on availability, you can have up to 3 CAT KITs (or combination of CAT KITs and ARKs – see below) at no extra cost.
CAT KITs available for a 5/6 week term.
Collection is from our store at Kingsmead, Canterbury by arrangement.
From September 2017, Term 1, the charge will increase to £20 for one CAT KIT loan, still with the deal of up to 3 at no extra cost depending on availability.

Download extra copies of the kit booklet of teaching and learning ideas here: catkit_phase2.pdf [5.3MB], if you have a Phase 2 CAT KIT (on loan to any Kent school or interest group).

These kits are primarily to support teaching and learning in Kent.  Out of county loan will be considered dependant on availability of resource.

How our kits are being used in the classroom


CAT KITs for  Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University

CCCU library at Augustine House, Canterbury, has a set of CAT KITs in the curriculum resources section. If you’re a student teacher, think about using one on placement.  Two CCCU graduates have told me they took CAT KITs to interviews for teaching posts – and got the jobs! CCCU students are also welcome to contact CAT where we have additional kits.

“This is a fantastic resource.  It would have been even better if I’d got the children dressed up as archaeologists and maybe used a sand tray to bury the finds in”

Heritage Lottery Fund

More resources

When you are using a CAT KIT, you should find these galleries useful:

Why history is a load of old rubbish how layers build up on an archaeological site.
Pots and pans for complete examples of pots and how they were used.
Boney bits for whole animals! And how animal bone was used in the past.
Building homes for reconstruction images of how the whole structure might have looked.

ARK kits for any Kent school or interest group (Roman focus with some Late Iron Age)

An ARK (Archaeological Resource Kit) is a similar format to the CAT KIT but with a focus on Roman material from the Folkestone area, particularly  the Roman villa at East Cliff, and new knowledge about what it was like at East Cliff before Roman settlers occupied the area. The ARKs are a product of the Heritage Lottery funded project, ‘Folkestone, A Town Unearthed’.

An ARK is composed of:

  • Original fragments from Folkestone excavations (mostly Iron Age and Roman pottery sherds, animal bone and building materials).
  • Teacher/facilitator booklet with user friendly descriptions of the finds, three archaeologists’ stories of discoveries at the Folkestone Roman Villa site, activities to help develop cross-curricular knowledge and skills, plus useful websites and glossary.
  • Feely Bag.
  • Pottery measuring chart.
  • CD of images of archaeologists at work and the Folkestone discoveries.
  • All contained in a sturdy case.

ARK kitARK kit

How Cheriton Primary School used this ARK resource

Lessons on Folkestone’s Roman villa formed a large part of a local history study for pupils at Cheriton Primary, with the class teacher addressing the following aims and subject content for National Curriculum History.


  • Know and understand… the nature of ancient civilisations
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims

Subject content

  • Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history
  • They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information
  • Pupils should be taught about the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
  • Pupils should complete a local history study, for example an in-depth study linked to one of the British areas of study

Some literacy time was used for children planning and writing their ‘Roman villa for rent’ leaflets. This covered everything from reading non-fiction texts and pulling information from a variety of sources; planning a piece of work; drafting a text using appropriate vocabulary and with a particular audience in mind; proof reading work; and making amendments for a final edition.

Well done, Cheriton Primary and lovely to see your work!

Cheriton Primary Roman villa for rent leaflets [PDF]
Cheriton Primary understanding special features of Folkestone’s Roman villa [PDF]
Cheriton Primary investigating artefacts from Folkestone’s Roman villa [PDF]
Cheriton Primary understanding what it was like to live in a Roman villa [PDF]
Cheriton Primary design a Roman style building using SketchUp [PDF]

How to borrow an ARK

Please email the Community Archaeologist,
There is a charge of £15 for one ARK loan. Depending on availability, you can have up to 3 ARKs (or combination of ARKs and CAT KITs – see above) at no extra cost.
ARKs are available for a 5/6 week term.
Collection is from our store at Kingsmead, Canterbury by arrangement.

“It was using the kit that made all the difference… it also tied in with our literacy.  Ofsted said the lesson was outstanding – so I was very pleased!”

Download additional copies of the ARK booklet: CAT curriculum pack [PDF 3.5 MB]
Heritage Lottery Fund

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