Young Archaeologists' Club
Central Southern England Branch

Branch Meeting Reports 2004


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Xmas    Saturday 11 December 2004   Xmas
(10.00am to 1.15pm)

Robin Hood & the evil Sheriff of Nottingham
Junior Members & Senior Members
 
The Christmas party theme this year was Robin Hood & the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Twenty-nine members and two visitors attended, majority in very colourful fancy dress. The competition was difficult to judge with a variety of King Richard's and Maid Marion's among the various characters chosen from the period. This year a boy and girl were each awarded a 1st prize of a £5.00 book token with a runner-up also being declared. These were: (girl) 1st Hazel Maclean, runner-up Kali Turner; (boys) 1st Nicholas Shaw, runner-up Jonathan Wyles. The usual games were held together with a "double pass-the parcel". Thanks to all who contributed food and refreshments which was quickly demolished by members with great enthusiasm and energy! The "Cake" this year was a castle complete with hidden silver money!
During the party the winner of The John Jillings Bursary was announced. As last year there was a single competition prize awarded in 2004, being a cheque for £50 presented to Hazel Maclean for her winning entry.
(This can be seen in the AV room at the Archaeology Centre).

Saturday 20 November 2004
(10.00am - 1.15pm)

 
The junior member explored various Myths and then divided into groups to produce a short role-play sequence taken from a Myth. The Senior Group discussed Medieval England and looked at life locally

Saturday 16 October 2004
(9.00am - 6.00pm)
Coach Visit
Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Singleton, West Sussex

 
A very enjoyable day was had by all participants which included Branch Leaders, Helpers, Members together with Adult and Junior guests. Although this event was not as well supported as others, those of you that did not come missed out on some unique experiences!
The weather was not initially kind but it was an easy coach journey down (with a video film) through the Surrey and Sussex countryside to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum site at Singleton where we were met by Rebecca Osborne, Group Organiser for the Museum and Sarah-Louise Coleman who Alan had asked to assist throughout the day and especially with the afternoon "Scavenger Hunt"!
Our base for the day was the classroom within the unique "Gridshell" building from where Rebecca Osborne provided the formal welcome and gave the safety instructions for the site. The party was then split into two groups, each with a guide, for the 2-hour walking tour of the museum site. This was followed by lunch being taken at the "village green" picnic area adjacent to the mill pond. (Additional lunch purchase facilities were available here for those requiring them). After lunch a tour of the archival store underneath the "Gridshell" was made in the company of the curator. This was a fascinating array of tools, farm implements and building materials, which showed the range of additional items stored at the Museum.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up with two study periods for Branch members with adult and junior guests being able to freely explore the museum site or enjoy further refreshments. The members activities consisted of in one part a Scavenger Hunt lead by Sarah-Louise and the other a more in-depth look at three types of buildings on site lead by Alan. The buildings included a visit to the Watermill, Tudor kitchen and the Bayleaf farmstead complex.
All Scavenger Hunt participants received a prize when returning to the Museum shop, which also became a source for avid purchases as souvenirs of the day. Unfortunately some members got so carried away that the departure from the Museum site was rather extended resulting in a late arrival back at the Archaeology Centre, Bagshot.

Saturday 18 September 2004
(10.00am - 1.00pm)

 
The junior member either decorated their previously constructed castles, or did glass painting. The Senior Group had an illustrated talk on Tudor buildings before being taken on a tour of the various examples of such buildings in Bagshot.

Summer Activities
"Archaeology Experience"
A week's non-residential course 16-20 August 2004.
The week consisted of 4-days at the Archaeology Centre participating in and learning excavation skills in the rear garden area, which was planned as a continuation of the student training excavations carried out in the late 1990's. There were post-excavation activities within the building including pot-washing, drawing and marking of archaeological material. The participants were formed into 4-groups, each being given a name! Thus we had, The Celts, The Goths, The Normans and The Vikings. The activities were on a rotational basis and only two groups at any one time were usually in the excavation area - it not being that large and all hand-dug! The last day (Day 5) was the visit to Warwick Castle for which many family members and friends joined us for this wonderful day out to one of the finest examples of a medieval castle in Britain.
(See Summer Course for further details of the course)
 
NAD Open day: Saturday 17 July 2004 (10.00am - 5.00pm)
This event was arranged as part of the National Archaeology Days weekend to enable YAC Branch members to participate in activities and / or do research for the YAYA 2004 and JJ Bursary 2004 competitions. Some 15 Branch members and 4 potential members attended for the whole or part day together with many public visitors to the Archaeology Centre. Many YAC membersí parents also took the opportunity to tour the Archaeology Centre and some were equally keen to participate in the member's brass rubbing and glass painting activities taking place! The Archaeology Centre was open to the public and additionally staffed by volunteer members of the Trust (SHAHT). Mid-morning and afternoon refreshments were provided with members staying for the whole day bringing a picnic lunch. There was no meeting fee for attendance.

Saturday 12 June 2004
(10.00am - 1.00pm)

 
Due to unforeseen circumstances in respect of members of the Branch Team, it was necessary to change the date of this meeting by bringing it "Forward" by one week.
Junior member learnt about the life of Monks and then proceeded to make caustic tiles using different coloured clays. Senior members participated in a project investigating the gravestones in the small - but "closed" - Bagshot cemetery.

Saturday 15 May 2004
9.00am to 6.00pm

Coach visit
"Explore Butser"

(Craft skills to Geophysical surveys)
 
A happy and expectant party of 45, consisting of YAC members, guests, junior guests, Alan (leader) together with Jill and Natalie (helpers), boarded the coach and set off in excellent weather for the short journey to Butser Ancient Farm. Here we were met by Steve Dyer (our Guide and presenter for the Day) who was assisted by Steve Mason.
Our base for the day was to be the large roundhouse on-site. Here Steve Dyer gave an introduction to the history of the farm, its aims & objectives, together with the time period covered; being 500BC - 500AD. As the site is also a working farm safety rules were explained as well as advice on not touching the animals together with the necessity of hand-washing before eating! An initial tour of the farm included a visit inside the constructed Roman Villa (where original materials and methods had been used as far as possible) and the animal pens. This included the farm goat, who enjoyed eating anything offered!
Lunch was taken in the large roundhouse and the afternoon was spent on a variety of practical projects, which included Geophysical surveys, ancient jewellery making and daub manufacture (lots of mud!). This was then used in wall construction for a new winter home for the farm goat! A final practical session was ploughing with YAC members roped together. Much hooting and encouragement prevailed and even a few furrows were achieved!
During the Geophysical surveys by the weather station many noticed the memorial stone to the farm's founder, Dr Peter Reynolds. For more information and a translation of the Latin script, visit the Butser Ancient Farm website.
All to soon the day was coming to end. So with a final round-up session with the two Steve's, visits to the Farm shop etc, it was back on the coach for the return journey and cartoon entertainment! The expression of appreciation received on the day and subsequently makes all the effort put in so worth while!

Saturday 17 April 2004
(10.00am - 1.00pm)

 
Junior member learnt about the Normans, the castles that were built and the various aspects of their design including battlements and dungeons. Senior members investigated the gruesome aspects of medieval life.

Saturday 20 March 2004
(10.00am - 1.00pm)

 
Junior members discussed and made drawings of the various visitors and invaders to Britain's shores. Senior members discussed and explored the various "pests" that could be found in a Museum environment. They also looked at what steps could and should be taken to minimise and eradicate such effects.

Saturday 21 February 2004
"Extended meeting"
10.00am to 4.30pm

Junior Members:
&
Senior Members:
The height of Anglo-Saxon fashion?

Guest speaker: Pippa Henry from Oxford University
'Learning About Archaeological Textiles:
How do they survive?
How do we examine and identify them?'

 
The Branch was very pleased to welcome Pippa Henry for a very in-depth, fun-filled and practical day of activities. It had been obvious from enquiries prior to the meeting, that the original title chosen by the Branch Team clearly did not reflect the content or intention of the day! This was equally reflected in the round-up session at the end of the day when attending members were asked for their thoughts and so readily agreed that this had been the case! It is, therefore, unfortunate that members who do not receive BNU's may have been put off from attending this meeting by a title unrepresentative of the actual event.

The day was split into two distinct parts with an information session in the morning and practical sessions in the afternoon.
The morning session comprises a slide presentation, followed by examining fibres and fabrics, then learning how to recognise them by matching the fibre to the fabric. The afternoon was spent making replica textiles: tablet and rigid-heddle bands, cords (cord winding and bobbin winding) and weaving on the warp-weighted loom, which Pippa had kindly provided and installed for us within the AV room.
Every member had the opportunity to participate in the practical activities and were able to take their woven band or cord home. Some member were adventurous and tried the loom with great success. The activities of the day clearly inspired members to continue the lessons for weeks after the event!
Being an extended meeting a packed lunch had been requested. As well as a lunch break, there were also short mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks at which refreshments were provided.

Saturday 17 January 2004
(10.00am - 1.00pm)

 
Junior members explored the various shapes and designs of Roman architecture. The Senior members were introduced to archaeological drawing techniques and used examples from the Trust collection of display material as part of the pratical lessons.
 
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