Monthly Archives: December 2013

Out with the new, in with old – Find out about the past in 2014

De Bello Canzio stand at A4U 2013
Exploring the past through reenactment

Our new year message is that exploring your past is a rich and rewarding thing to do, helping you to understand the the way you live today.

There are many ways to get involved in exploring the past, finding out about the places that you live in and discovering something about your own place in the world. Who were your ancestors, who lived before you in your town or even your house?

The range can be wide, exploring the past over thousands of years or even just the the last few years, or even the last few minutes. You could simply ask how we all arrived here together at this moment to begin thinking about how our history affects our current place in the world.

There are so many ways to explore the past, through television programmes and the internet or even taking part in research through archives or in an archaeological dig. You can experience another  way of life through costume and re-enactment or visit a museum and see the objects from the past that have been preserved because of what they tell us about a way of life which may have changed forever.

Taking part in an archaeological dig
Taking part in an archaeological dig

You don’t need to have any technical skills, the only thing you need to do is listen to your own interests. Begin to explore the questions that you ask yourself about your own life and find some way to answer them through reading or taking part in some sort of activity. Begin with who, where what and most important, when.

There is always someone or some resource out there to help you discover what you want to know. You can work alone or better still  join a group of people with the same interests. If you don’t like or understand one way of exploration, find another way, most importantly find your own way.

Make it your resolution for 2014  to find out something about the past and what it could tell you about your own life.

Sharing our favourite historical resources

Who will write our history book cover
Who will write our history?

So here’s a recommendation for a start to your new historical year from our Deputy Director: Its a  book called ‘Who will write our History: Rediscovering a hidden archive from the Warsaw Ghetto’ by Samuel D. Kassow. The book is about people who made the effort to enquire about their own lives and circumstances under terrible conditions. In researching and recording the experience and history of those around them a dedicated group of researchers created a lasting record of their lives that endured the almost total destruction of everything around them. A very moving book about humanity in adversity, a great read. You can find a link to the book on Amazon here.

Tell us about your favourites

What are the books and resources that have had the most effect on your interest in the past? We would love to see your comments.


Final find of the year!

Outer surface of the Iron Age pottery sherd
Image showing flint tempering in the edge of the pot sherd
Flint tempering in the edge of the pot sherd

An interesting piece of pottery was found today in a shallow linear ditch on a site at Westgate-on-Sea in Thanet. Although it appeared unremarkable at first glance, once it was cleaned up it became obvious that it was quite a significant find for nearly the last dig of the year.

The flint temper that can be seen in the pottery, in the edge and on the surface, helps us to work out the age of the vessel. In this case the pieces of temper are fairly large, so it shows us that this piece is of Iron Age date, from 700 -400 BC.

The outer surface is reddish brown in colour and has been wiped to smooth the surface. The inside face of the sherd is black with the flint tempering showing up as white flecks.