This summer the East Dorset Antiquarian Society (EDAS) has enabled over 100 children to experience real archaeology. Led by Site Director Lilian Ladle, the society is into its third year exploring the Roman Villa at Druce Farm near Puddletown. With the support of the landowners, Tom and Ann Ridout, EDAS decided it was the perfect opportunity to encourage young people who are interested in archaeology and their heritage.
Working with Nicola Berry, the Education Officer of Dorset County Museum, schools throughout Dorset were contacted about this opportunity. Several were able to visit, including: St Andrew’s Primary School Yetminster, The Swanage School, Poole High School, Thomas Hardye School, Bryanston School, The Gryphon School Sherborne and Poole Grammar School. In addition members of the Dorset County Museum branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) and a group from the seeUNT Home Education Group, based in Beaminster, were also able to visit the site.
The visit comprised a guided tour of the site and a talk describing some of the most important artefacts found so far. This was followed by practical archaeology; finds washing, which is the first of the post-excavation processes, and trowelling when the pupils were able to work in newly opened trenches. One of the most memorable days was when 23 perfectly behaved children from St Andrew’s Primary School, Yetminster, descended with great energy and enthusiasm and they finished their visit by finding real Roman artefacts in a recently opened trench.
All the young guests were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The teachers were delighted that EDAS had been able to offer this unique opportunity to visit a real archaeology site. They were thrilled that their pupils were able to experience practical archaeology. Some of the older pupils have stated they want to return during the summer holidays.
EDAS would like to thank Nicola Berry who liaised with the schools, all the volunteers, especially Sue Cullinane, Bryan Popple, Geoff Taylor and Barbara Milburn who arranged the on-site activities, and not forgetting the teachers who enthusiastically supported this opportunity. Special thanks to all the young people who made this such a rewarding experience for everyone.
There is a chance to visit Druce Farm Roman Villa Excavation on a special ‘Open Day‘ on Saturday 27th September from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry to the site is FREE, but a donation of £3.00 is suggested, to help towards the publication of this important site
For more details details please visit: www.dorset-archaeology.org.uk
N.B Please note that there is a one mile walk from the car park and there are no toilet facilities. The excavation is on a working farm, SORRY, NO DOGS ALLOWED