Obsolete – Primary school visits

New National Curriculum (Sept 2014)

We are fully aware of the requirements of the new National Curriculum which will come into force in September 2014.

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Although in the past we have concentrated on the Iron Age and Roman period in this country, we have gradually been expanding our activities and are now able to offer a day’s visit to schools concentrating on the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period, Anglo-Saxons or Vikings.

We are developing a new Stone Age area at Butser Ancient Farm. Just as all our structures are based on evidence from excavations, these buildings are based on evidence from Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge. We know from this evidence that houses were square or rectangular.

All schoolchildren visiting the farm for a whole day, will take part in at least 4 hands on activities chosen from the activities table below (a half day visit will include 2 activities).

We recommend that you limit your time period to:

  • Stone Age + Bronze Age + Iron Age
  • Iron Age + Roman
  • Saxon + Viking or
  • Any single period.

Some activities might look similar for different periods, because they are applicable throughout those eras.

Please be assured that our experienced staff will focus on your chosen period during your visit and gear the activity towards your topic.

Please note:

During the cold, wet months of the year we cannot offer clunching, daubing or pottery. If you have chosen one of these activities, we will offer an alternative on the day.

Table of activities

The Activities we offer schools
Wattling
Wattle was used as fencing and as a basis for the walls of houses.
  • Pupils learn how to weave a demonstration fence with hazel rods up to 4m long.  They learn how to hold and manipulate the wood safely.
Daubing
Daub covered the wattle to ensure that the houses were weatherproof and well insulated.
  • Pupils help to mix mud, manure, straw, clay, horsehair and water and apply it to the wattle fence to fill the gaps and seal the wall against draughts.
Clunching
This is a combination of various materials to make a wall.
  • Chalk needs to be crushed and then added to mud, straw and water to make a mix to be used to build a self-supporting wall.
Flint wall building
  • Pupils are shown a wall built from flint and lime mortar. Then they build their own wall from dry flints and test its strength by walking along it!
Pottery
  • Pupils use clay just as our ancestors did – straight from the ground! Popular items they can make are pots, models of warriors, houses, animals and plaques. Please bring labelled boxes in which to carry your pots home – one per group.
Jewellery
Ancient Britons wore jewellery that was often intricate in design and fashioned in bronze, silver or gold according to the status of its wearer.
  • Pupils are shown how to use pliers safely to make a piece of jewellery to wear. All jewellery can be taken home.
  • Stone Age people did not have metal, so this activity can only be done if cordage activity is also chosen.
Cordage
  • Pupils are shown how to make strong cord from natural materials. The cordage they make can then be used to make a bracelet, bookmark or keyfob.
Chalk Carving
This is an opportunity to talk about early beliefs.
  • Pupils can carve a picture on a lump of chalk with a sharpened flint as a house god, just as prehistoric people did. All house gods can be taken home.
  • This activity can also be used to recognise and carve runes for Saxon and Viking topics.
Spinning
This was an essential skill – the first step towards making warm blankets and clothes.
  • Pupils learn how to use a basic spindle to spin some wool from our sheep into yarn. All yarn can be taken home.
Archaeology
  • Pupils learn some basic methods used by archaeologists and then have the chance to be an archaeologist, digging in our pits or in our indoor trays.  In both areas there is a strong possibility that they will excavate something, which will provide excellent opportunities for them to use their powers of reasoning.
Villa Tour
  • Pupils are given a guided tour around the Roman villa, which provides an excellent opportunity for them to compare and contrast Roman homes and ways of life with other periods.
Mosaics
The Romans made intricate mosaics with which they covered the floors of their villas.
  • Pupils make a mosaic pattern using small tiles. This is a good opportunity for teamwork.
Roman Maths
Roman numerals are different to the numbers we use today.
  • Pupils take part in a maths lesson as if they were Romans.
Sewing Runes
  • Pupils use needles and wool to sew a rune, such as their initial, on to card.
Shop
A visit to the shop at Butser Ancient farm is a learning experience in itself providing opportunities for pupils to select from a range of articles such as rings, woven purses, pendants, small figures etc. The children do all their own calculations when purchasing the items.