Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Visit from Estonia

July 17th, 2012

CAT has been visited by an Estonian teacher keen to see to what extent and how we use Archaeology in our English school curriculum.  Liia Vijand teaches History in a secondary school in a small town in southern Estonia and is currently undertaking PhD research in the value of increasing engagement in Archaeology at both primary and secondary levels.

Liia spent a few days in south-east England seeing sites, finding out about the CAT Education Service and talking to others in the field. She was very enthused by our CAT KITs and web materials and we spent a lot of time discussing the many benefits of hands-on learning and using real archaeological material with young people of differing ability.

She later emailed saying, ‘I really enjoyed time in the south… I am very happy that I met all those wonderful people and saw amazing nature, heritage sites, one of the best trips I’ve done. And I got ideas and feeling that I am not alone! Thank you for that!’

Sounds pretty good to me and I hope that Liia will keep us updated with her research when she is back in Estonia.  It would be great to hear of kits being used out there!

St Edmund’s School

June 21st, 2012

An excavation on the playing fields of St Edmund’s School on St Thomas’s Hill to the north-west of Canterbury has uncovered rather more than was expected.

An Iron Age settlement has been discovered beneath grass playing fields about to become astroturf pitches.  Many shallow features were first exposed in a ‘strip and map’ operation and are now being excavated and recorded.  Pits, a ditch and many post-holes, belonging to timber buildings, might all be part of a hilltop settlement similar to one excavated by the Trust at Highstead in the 1970s.

Plan of the excavationPanoramic viewPlant machinery on site

… and the nominations are …

May 30th, 2012

A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500‘ has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Community Archaeology Project’ at the British Archaeological Awards 2012.

The winner will be announced at this year’s award ceremony at the British Museum on 9th July.

May the best team win!

Bon voyage to our Community Archaeologist

May 30th, 2012

Our Community Archaeology Trainee Placement, Annie Partridge. has now successfully completed her year with us and sadly moved on to pastures new. Annie joined us via a Council for British Archaeology bursary project. We were one of a number of host organisations across the UK lucky enough to be part of this scheme.

Annie joined us in April 2012 and had a very busy 12 months. If you want to read about what she did during her time with us, she has shared some of her experiences on her own blog.

Alex and Hayley return

May 25th, 2012

Alex Vokes and Hayley Jedrzejewski have just returned from a five week secondment in Libya working with a team of specialists on one of the world’s top ten prehistoric caves.

The cave, called the Haua Fteah, is located on the lowest sea-facing escarpment of the Gebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain) of Cyrenaica. The Cyrenaican Prehistory Project, of which the Haua Fteah excavation forms part, is directed by Professor Graeme Barker of the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, Dr Chris Hunt of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Tim Reynolds of the University of London with funding from a European Research Grant and the Society for Libyan Studies. The project is supported by the Department of Antiquities of Libya and by the staff and students of Omar Muchtar University Al Baida.
HayleyHayley and AlexAlex
The team is re-investigating the Haua Fteah cave some sixty years after the site was first investigated by Charles McBurney of Cambridge University. The 14m deep trench of the early 1950s has been emptied and the team has been throwing new science at the exposures, pushing the story of the Hau back over 150,000 and perhaps 200,000 years. The Haua Fteah is now an ‘Out of Africa’ cave with a sequence extending back to the origins of Early Modern Man. Our Libyan colleagues now call the Haua, ‘Umm Al Arth’ – Mother of the World.

Alex helped to set up this season’s environmental processing facility and has run the facility almost single-handed, whilst Hayley supervised the gargantuan task of processing and recording finds generated by the excavation.

Forthcoming exhibition

May 21st, 2012

We are working with the Kent Archaeological Society to mount an exhibition in Maidstone Museum for the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology fortnight, July 14th to 29th 2012.

Themes will include the current Boat 1550 BC project (Dover Bronze Age boat) and the Archaeology in Education Service, both of which are supported by the KAS. Displays will include finds, reconstructions and photographs and will reflect our successful work in the community.

The exhibition will be funded by Kent Archaeological Society.

Boat 1550 BC

May 17th, 2012

As many of you may have heard, we placed the replica boat in the water for the second time yesterday.  Although initially the vessel floated well, standing high in the water with significant freeboard, it started to take on water through the stitched seams.  Two team members boarded the boat (which was remarkably stable) and attempted to bale the water out, but the leaks got worse and we had to abandon the attempt.
In the water
Time has now run out for the boat building team, as the boat must travel to Boulogne next week to take its place in the exhibition.  The boat building team must wait until next year when the boat returns to England before finding a solution and conducting sea trials.  Though a little disappointing and frustrating, this last problem does not detract from the immense achievement of building the boat.  In the true spirit of experimental archaeology, the boat builders have faced many challenges over the last three months and solved many problems, resulting in a hugely significant increase in knowledge and appreciation of the technological abilities of our Bronze Age ancestors.  There is no doubt that this final issue of waterproofing the seams will be resolved, though the project timetable does not permit this at the moment.

I salute the boat builders (Richard Darrah, Robin Wood, Trevor Marsden, Rachel Head, Sam Curtis and Damian Sanders), whose hard work, professional expertise, enthusiasm and good humour have made the reconstruction such a success. They have created a boat of great beauty that will form the jewel in the crown of our wonderful exhibition.

Peter Clark

Boat 1550 BC: the launch

May 15th, 2012

After a busy week in the ‘boat shed’, tomorrow will see the second testing for seaworthiness of the half-size replica of Dover’s Bronze Age boat. Last week the boat was at the centre of hectic activity as the boat builders toiled under the the expectant eyes of press and media gathered for its launch. Amongst the visitors was the Time Team and, characteristically, Phil Harding was eager to get ‘hands on’.
Boat 1550BCBoat 1550BCBoat 1550BC
Initial plans to float the vessel with a small crew were abandoned when the boat shipped more water than had been anticipated – the crew was to have included a designated ‘baler’.
Manouvering through Market SquareArrives at marinaPoised for immersion
Touches the waterThe leaks are identifiedLifted
Consequently the boat’s naming ceremony took place on the esplanade. Heralded by music from Canterbury Christ Church University and christened with champagne, ‘Ole Crumlin Pedersen’ was then displayed to the crowds before retiring to dry dock to be prepared for sea.
Musicians from CCCU Seafront

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