A look back at the Whitehawk Family Archaeology Day

Fiona Redford, Programmes Support Officer, looks back at last month’s Whitehawk Family Archaeology Day.

Early one drizzly, grey, January Saturday morning, members of the Local History and programming teams were busy finalising the arrangements for the Whitehawk Family Archaeology Day.  Furniture, handling collections, flint artefacts, human bones and spinning wheels were all manoeuvred into position.

By 10 o’clock there was a small huddle of eager visitors at the front door. By 11o’clock, there was a steady but relentless flow of excited families – all eager to have a look at and find out more about our exciting archaeological past.

Photo of fur with stone age tools laid upon it
Courtesy Hilary Orange, UCL

There was a really good variety of things to do, thanks to curator Andy Maxted, and Hilary Orange, who represents UCL’s project Archaeology South East.  There were flint knapping and prehistoric clothing demonstrations; and children’s creative workshops, which included digging for objects in a sandpit, making sashes, and creating badges based on local wildlife. There were two activities relating to pot making & decoration techniques and an observational drawing activity — all of which proved extremely popular.

Alexia Lazou delivered several fantastic archaeological Magic Lantern shows throughout the day, showing images of the 1930’s excavation of Whitehawk.

Other activities included Drop-Spindle and Spinning Wheel demonstrations, handling collections (including ancient artefacts and human remains), three talks, and numerous displays and projections. In addition to our work, 14 other local archaeological groups and societies took part. The Dig Whitehawk! volunteers were brilliant at chatting to the public, handing out programmes and directing visitors to the activities.

Through a ‘happy coincidence’ John Cooper’s Bite-size Museum talk on Amber also ran that day and became part of the programme. That too went down a storm! He’ll be doing another Bite-size Museum talk on Flint on 17 March.

All in all, it was a fantastic day that saw over 2000 people visit the museum and allowed them to get really hands-on experience of our local archaeology. Hard work – but all worth it.

Family days are run periodically throughout the year and are advertised in the What’s On Guide and on our website. So if you missed this one – keep your eyes peeled for the next one and feel free to get involved!

Fiona Redford, Programmes Support Officer

 

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