Jul 31 2017
Hear from Leigh-Anne Williams, Curatorial Assistant (Archaeology), about the recent Festival of Archaeology at Weston Park.
Earlier in the month, Weston Park Museum was taken over by archaeology enthusiasts participating in the many activities put on as part of the Festival of Archaeology. The Festival of Archaeology, which is co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), encourages everyone to explore the archaeology of their local area, watch experts at work, and experience archaeology for themselves.
The museum staff and volunteers were very keen to put on an event this year to celebrate the wonderful collections on display in the new gallery Beneath Your Feet, as well as the artefacts that are normally behind the scenes. It also gave us an opportunity to tell the public what we do and why.
While organising the event more and more people came forward to offer help and ideas. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with local groups. Heeley City Farm used their wonderful craft talents to help visitors make their own Bronze Age inspired pot.
The activity was very popular and the finished products were widely admired. Visitors were also able to create their own Bronze Age boats, using laminated paper to make them seaworthy!
Our own education team continued the prehistoric theme with Bronze Age inspired jewellery making. Participants made black beads to imitate the jet used in the Bronze Age necklaces on display. One young visitor enthusiastically described her necklace to me showing the different animal-shaped beads she had made for it.
The University of Sheffield archaeology department played an important role with five students telling visitors about their research and taking turns demonstrating flint knapping. Some visitors commented that flint knapping seems a lot harder to do than the perfect stone tools on display imply.
The Sheffield Young Archaeologists’ Club was also there to share what they do and the various activities children and young people can get involved with. Museums Sheffield’s archaeology staff brought out a selection of objects from the collections we have in store, to complement the usual handling collection objects. People could get up close with a beautiful prehistoric macehead, tiles from Beauchief Abbey and an 1815 token issued by Sheffield Workhouse. They conducted tours around the gallery which raised much lively discussion and many insightful questions.
The day was a success with many positive comments from all age groups: “The talks and activities were amazing” and “All the staff were very helpful”. None of this could have been done without our amazing volunteers who helped so much or the local groups who were so willing to take part. I’d like to thank them all for their time and effort.
Image: Top: Team from University of Sheffield Archaeology Department. Image © Museums Sheffield.
Image: Middle right: Martha Lawrence, Curator of Arcaheology at Museums Sheffield, with volunteer Helene. Image © Museums Sheffield.
Image Middle Left: Bronze age style pot making with Heeley City Farm team. Image © Museums Sheffield
Image: Bottom Right: Replica jet jewellery making. Image © Museums Sheffield.
Image: Bottom Left: Young Archaeologists Club. Image © Museums Sheffield.
Image: Bottom: Team from University of Sheffield Archaeology Department. Image © Museums Sheffield.