School bairns in Orkney enjoyed a few days of being junior archaeologists and learning the history of their own communities at the same time.
Over 120 children from Dounby Primary School, Stenness Primary School, Stromness Primary School, Evie Primary School, Firth Primary School and the Pathways to Independence Group were involved in an archaeology day at The Palace village community dig in Birsay.
Dan Lee (UHI Archaeology Institute Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist) visited their schools prior to the outdoor activities where the pupils learnt about the archaeology of the Magnus story.
At the main trench the pupils were divided into teams and then started washing some of the medieval finds that had come out of the trenches, sieving deposits and excavating in the main trench. The teams rotated around, giving each bairn the experience of the different aspects of field archaeology.
The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute was commissioned by Orkney Islands Council to deliver a programme of community archaeology activities and events that would explore the story of St Magnus and medieval Orkney. The Mapping Magnus project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of Magnus 900 commemorating the 900th anniversary year of the death of St Magnus during 2017.
Dan Lee said:
“The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute actively encourage community involvement in many of our digs and we always look forward to working with teachers and children in our research projects. The team enjoyed training the children in the basics of archaeology and they contributed immensely to the excavation. We look forward to seeing some of the school work that comes out of the project.”
If you would also like to be part of the Mapping Magnus Community Archaeology Project
then please contact the UHI Archaeology Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Future activities include a geophysical survey and walkover survey at Manse Stone sites
and a noust survey at Marwick.
Photographs courtesy of Charlotte Hunter.