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Investigating the Past at Butser Ancient Farm

The children experienced sitting in a roundhouse and tried to imagine what life would have been like in Stone and Iron Ages. They discovered that the smoke from the open fire kept creepy crawlies from making their homes in the straw roof and was used to preserve meat. The children were fascinated with the Stone Age toilet facilities but were not impressed with the idea of the toilet being outside or using leaves as toilet paper!
The children were introduced to an ancient breed of sheep, which looked more like goats than the modern sheep we are used to seeing.  They then used spindles to spin sheep’s wool into yarn, which the children made into bracelets to take home. The wool was greasy with lanolin, which made our hands nice and soft.
The messiest task of the day was making clunch. Clunch is a mixture of soil, chalk and water. It is a traditional building material used mainly in eastern England and Normandy and the children applied it to wattle walls to strengthen and face them preventing wind and rain from entering the roundhouse.
The chalk carving activity allowed the children to be artistic and creative. Fresh leaves created a dye for the flat surface of pieces of chalk. The children were taught how Stone Age people used small pieces of flint to carve shapes and patterns that were important to them. Most of the preferred designs were inspired by the world around them. Year three carved their own designs into chalk. It was harder than it looked but the children created some beautiful carvings to take home and share with their parents.
Finally, the children were given the opportunity to be archaeologists. They used trowels to unearth artefacts buried in a marked out trench and then used water and brushes to clean the items they found and work out exactly what they had discovered using reference materials provided.
The weather was lovely, the setting beautiful and the day full of fun activities resulting in a learning opportunity which was enjoyed by all and a coach home that was full of weary but smiling faces.
Published on 23/06/2017