Preliminary plans for a very interesting project have just been unveiled for the Irish National Heritage Park, in Co. Wexford. It consists of a ‘Simulated Archaeological Excavation’ that is aimed at primary and secondary school students. This innovative project, which has been designed by The School of Irish Archaeology on behalf of Crane Bag Consulting, will give school children an opportunity to take part in a day of excavation, workshops and activities. The simulated excavation will be contained within a specially designed building to be split into two designated areas. Here students will learn some of the skills and techniques used in archaeology. The first area will represent an on-site excavation, while the second deals with post-excavation work.
The excavation area represents a multi-period archaeological site that is divided into five cuttings each of which contain replica archaeological features and artefacts. The students will get down and dirty here using real archaeological tools to excavate and record these ‘ancient’ features, which will be sealed by a layer of sand. The proposed archaeological cuttings include the partial remains of:
- A circular Mesolithic hut
- A rectangular Neolithic house
- A Bronze Age cist containing a crouched burial and an inverted urn
- An Iron Age bog body and trackway
- An early medieval rinfort ditch and bank
- A Viking house with an adjacent Viking burial
- A later medieval stone walled structure
The excavation will be complemented by a post-excavation area that is also divided into five compartments. Here the students will experience what happens after the digging stops, begining at the ‘Site Hut’ and ending up at the ‘Site Office’. It is intended that this process will demonstrate how the collection of the archaeological information is recorded, archived, processed, analysed and finally compiled to complete the final report. The five post-excavation compartments consist of:
- Site Hut
- Processing Room
- Media and Mapping Laboratory
- Site office
This sounds like a very worthwhile project and I’m looking forward to seeing how the final building turns out.