The Next Generation of Archaeologists

Yesterday saw the beginning of our second week of digging, and the arrival of a group of local primary school children. Dig director Professor Mark Horton gave the children the full tour of Berkeley Castle, which is currently dressed up for the filming of not one but two major television and film projects.
Following their tour of the castle, the children were given a tour of our trench in Nelme's Paddock, and an explanation of what we have found over the years, and what these finds and features can tell us about the history of Berkeley Castle.
Then came the real fun: the chance to be an archaeologist for the day! The children were introduced to some important archaeological techniques; excavation and finds washing. Bristol students constructed their own site for the children to dig in, filled with some fun finds including pottery, bones, iron artefacts and a necklace. The visiting students were happy to get stuck in and get their hands dirty to find something special. After the excavation, the children moved on to washing some particularly mud-covered finds, to try and identify what they were, and how they might have been used in the past.
Our other Dig Director, Dr Stuart Prior, finished off the day with a talk about the history of the Berkeley dig, and the different layers of occupation evident in our current trench.
Second year student Becky, who helped organise the visit day, thinks it's important for young children to engage with archaeology from a young age. She says: "Bringing children to have an experience like this is important as it encourages them to think differently, they are able to associate artefacts with history and situate themselves within a wider historical context"
Third year student Declan agrees: "The day was so important to show the children the context the history they learn about at school is in, and make it feel a lot more real for them. It is also important to show the kids how exciting and important archaeology is. I think we really inspired some children today, and have some eager young archaeologists for the future."
There are plenty of ways for young people who are interested in becoming archaeologists to get involved: they could join the Young Archaeologist's Club (, or volunteer at a local dig (
The visiting class seemed to really enjoy the day, and we did too!