More Archaeology at Shaftesbury Abbey

Back in May, renowned archaeologists Julian Richards and Claire Ryley, based at Shaftesbury Abbey, came into school to work with all of our key stage 3 (years 7 – 9) pupils.  They all completed a huge ‘indoor dig’ and pupils learned about how to look for clues to learn about the past.  They introduced pupils to ideas about how archaeologists use things they find underground to get information about historical people and told us how we would be part of a big archaeology project called ‘SAVED (Shaftesbury Abbey – a Voyage of Exploration and Discovery)’.

On Friday 14th June, all key stage 3 pupils travelled to Shaftesbury Abbey to take part in a variety of medieval activities including making tiles, making soap and mixing herbal concoctions, meeting a medieval nun, a historical walk, stone carving, exploring and more.  Pupils from Yewstock each made a clay floor tile, these will be placed alongside hundreds of others made by pupils from other schools to create a new temporary floor to represent that which existed in the Abbey 1000 years ago!  Pupils learned about the history of Shaftesbury Abbey and its people, King Alfred the Great and the Viking invasions, and also about how Yewstock School would visit again in July to take part in a real life archaeological excavation. 

On 12th July, we all visited the Abbey again to work with Julian, Claire and the team to learn more about the Abbey and to dig for relics and sort and wash our finds.  Pupils discovered some amazing artefacts, including pieces of bone, Victorian pottery and floor tiles from the Abbey which date back almost 1000 years!  Pupils learned a lot more about how archaeologists ‘dig’ and how to delicately uncover important clues that lie beneath the ground.

Everyone has enjoyed the project so much and so many pupils are excited to take their families back to the Abbey, which is still a ‘live’ archaeological site.  Many of the pupils finds will be displayed at the Abbey over the summer months as well as the tiles pupils created, there are also open days to visit for free.

Every pupil involved in the project has been given a ticket for free entry for 2 adults (entry for children is free anyway), which they will be bringing home. 

Yewstock would like to thank all the staff at Shaftesbury Abbey and we strongly suggest visiting this wonderful place.

Oliver Turner

Head of Key Stage 3

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