Category Archives: Archaeology for You

Archaeology for You 2014, celebrating the National Festival of Archaeology

Although Saturday 12th of July, the day of our fourth annual Archaeology for You event, was preceded by some impressive storms and rain, the wet weather held off for the day.

As in previous years we set up our eight Archaeology for You activity areas on the lawn in the gardens at the front of Quex House. With only some areas under shelters, our fingers were tightly crossed that the weather would stay calm over the day for the activities that were set up in the open air. The upper windows of Quex House provided a convenient vantage point for a photograph to be taken of our team of Trust Staff and volunteers setting up for the event.

Setting up for Archaeology for you 2014
Set up for Archaeology for you 2014, viewed from Quex House

Iron Age and Early Roman re-enactment group De Bello Canzio joined us again this year bringing a sense of the real lives behind the objects from that era that we had on display and our activities were arranged in the form a large circle so that people could progress from experiencing the methods of investigation in the field, toward the interpretation of objects and their use in the Re-living Ancient Life activity area.

Romans from De Bello Canzio with a new recruit to the Legions
Romans from De Bello Canzio with a new recruit to the Legions

The new Archaeology for You logo we launched for the event this year was used on our display boards to guide people to each of the activities.

Our Logo in action on the activity signs
Our Logo in action on the activity signs

This year, each of the areas where methods of practical archaeological investigation were demonstrated was linked by the four corner posts of a 10 metre square, fitted with strings and tapes to demonstrate how grids form the backbone of archaeological research. This formed the arena for the demonstration of site surveying using Geophysical and Aerial Survey in Seeing Beneath the Soil and the hands on Dig and Discover boxes, in their new green livery. The grid took centre stage as the framework for Pictures, Plans and Paperwork, where people could learn about the recording process and for Evidence from Objects where finds could be processed and examined for clues about the past.

Our aim for Archaeology for You is to build a complete experience of the processes that archaeologists use to digs and the methods used to make records and understand the evidence of the past, which anyone can take part in. Many people took part in our Give it a Swirl

Giving an environmental sample a swirl
Giving an environmental sample a swirl

introduction to processing samples taken for environmental evidence and busy potters made pre-historic style vessels at Inspired by the Past. Great imagination was also used to create mosaics that reflected favourite themes from mythology and the modern world.

Every year we try to introduce a new element to the activities at Archaeology for You and in our Bones and Burials area this year we recreated a burial, which had to be carefully excavated and recorded over the day.

With the aid of our other teaching skeleton and books people taking part in activity can get a feel for the complicated digging and recording that is needed to get the most information from each burial that is investigated by archaeologists.

Excavating in the Trust for Thanet Archaeology new skeleton activity
Excavating in the new skeleton activity

Archaeology for You is one of the education activities of the Trust for Thanet Archaeology that is supported by a grant from the Education Committee of the Kent Archaeological Society. The Powell-Cotton Museum is generous in allowing us access to their gardens for the event each year and the Director and staff of the Museum give a great deal of support to the event.

We would like to thank everyone who came along on the day and took part, we learn as much each year from the people who take part in Archaeology for You as they do taking part in our archaeological activities for all ages.

Logo for Archaeology for You

VM_365 Day 13 Archaeology for You

Excavating in the Trust for Thanet Archaeology new skeleton activity
Excavating in the new skeleton activity

Today’s image comes from Archaeology for You, our annual event for the National Festival of Archaeology, held in the gardens of the Powell-Cotton Museum.

It has been a long day for the Trust and our volunteers, with many people taking part in our archaeological activities.

This image is of the new skeleton excavation for our Bones and Burials area. Good fun and some very good and careful excavation carried out by our archaeologists of the future.

If you weren’t there you missed interesting, educational and entertaining day!

VM_365 Day 10 Give it a Swirl!

Only three days left to go until Archaeology for You on Saturday the 12th July at the Powell-Cotton Museum. One of our activities on Saturday will be ‘Give it a Swirl’ where you can find out how archaeologists find out about evidence for ancient environments and diets from soil samples taken at dig sites.

Today’s picture is of some charred grain, seeds, charcoal and tiny shells that were found in a soil sample taken from a Medieval ditch near Manston.

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The process we use to retrieve this evidence is called flotation. This is where soil samples are swirled in water in a tank over a fine mesh. The light artefacts such as charred seeds and grain, charcoal and small bones float to the top and are retrieved for identification by pouring the water off through a fine seive.  Heavy artefacts such as the odd stone, piece of pot or larger bone sink and are retained by the fine mesh and the soil particles sink right to the bottom of the tank.

We will be using a simplified version of this process on Saturday using buckets and plenty of water, so come along, get your hands dirty and Give it a Swirl!



Re-Living Ancient Life at Archaeology for You

Re-creating the lifestyles of the past is one of the ways that we study the objects discovered by archaeological investigation. Objects and personal items that have been found together in well dated layers on archaeological sites have been carefully recorded and studied to build a picture of all the things that were used or worn at a specific time.

Using the evidence recovered from excavations, authentic objects and costumes from a particular time in history can be reconstructed. By recreating the costumes, household items and clothing of the past and using them to re-enact processes and encounters that were experienced in the past, archaeologists gain an insight into life as it was lived.

Changes in the styles and functions of the objects let us trace changes in fashion and style, but also point out sharp breaks and changes in ways of life, which are important to our understanding of history.


De Bello Canzio are a re-enactment group that explore the changing world of the Cantiaci, the people Julius Caesar records as living in Kent in the Iron Age. One of the significant changes to the life of  the Cantiaci came when the Roman armies invaded and occupied the Island of Britain in 43 AD.  DB1DB3

Many of familiar patterns of dress and objects that were used by the Cantiaci before the Roman invasion lived on for a time, but the range of costumes, equipment and household items changed significantly after the Roman invasion.

Through their displays and costumes De Bello Canzio bring a glimpse of the life of the Iron Age and Roman Cantiaci to the re-living ancient life area at Archaeology for You.

VM 365 Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the Virtual Museum 365 project.

VM 1

Today’s picture is of archaeological ceramics specialist Nigel Macpherson-Grant working in our store, sorting through boxes of prehistoric pottery from past sites. Nigel is creating  an exemplary collection of Thanet’s ceramic material which we will use  in the Virtual Museum for teaching, display and handling collections. You will be able to see and handle some of it at Archaeology for You on 12th July.

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The two sherds of pottery shown above were in one of the boxes Nigel was looking at. They date to the Early to Middle Iron Age, between 550-400 BC and are known as rusticated coarsewares, because of the treatment of their surfaces. They were found in the Fort Hill area of Margate.

Archaeology for You – 12th July 2014

Logo for Archaeology for You

Archaeological activities for all ages for the National Festival of Archaeology

Archaeology for You is the Trust’s annual event to celebrate the National Festival of Archaeology, which is organised each year by the Council for British Archaeology. Once again in 2014 Archaeology for You will be held in the Gardens of the Powell-Cotton Museum,  on Saturday the 12th of July from 10am to 5pm.

Teaching skelton display

If you ever wonder how archaeologists can say what they do about the past, you can find out at Archaeology for You. There are many hands on activities demonstrating the principles and methods of archaeological investigation, exploring  digging methods, site recording and the process of reading the evidence of the finds from a site, giving you the basics of archaeological investigation.

De Bello Canzio stand at A4U 2013
De Bello Canzio stand at A4U 2013

To bring to life the people of the past  re-enactors from De Bello Canzio, a group specialising in Iron Age and Roman life, will show how archaeological evidence is used to explore costumes, tools, weapons to reconstruct the way of life of the Iron Age and Roman people.

There are no age limits to learning at Archaeology for You, there’s something for everyone in each of the activities from the youngest to the oldest.

The Trust for Thanet Archaeology is an education charity, with the mission to explore and explain archaeology. At Archaeology for You we bring together our experience as professional archaeologists with our education role, to demonstrate how archaeologists explore the world around them and use the evidence they gather to create historical stories by using archaeological techniques to investigate things and places.

Teachers exploring archaeology at school will find many ideas and resources at Archaeology for You that can be used in the classroom to help children understand how archaeologists investigate the world and reveal history from things and places.


Flyer and poster

Archaeology for You Flyer
Archaeology for You Flyer

Download a Flyer or an A3 sized poster for Archaeology for You

Download the guide to archaeological activities for all ages


We would love to see you at Archaeology for You