A year in the life of Bexley YAC
Bexley YAC's 2016 was packed with fabulous activities. Here's what we got up to!
Our first meeting of 2016 was in the archives at Bexleyheath Library. We looked at ancient jewellery as a status symbol, and talked about icons and charms. We then had a go at making some of our own.
In March, we looked at evidence for ancient woodlands through maps and documents. We discussed how to date trees from their girth – how big they are around their trunks.
Just for fun, we dissected ancient poo to see if we could tell from the contents what seeds people were eating! If you want to have a go at making – and dissecting – your own ancient poos, check out the activity instructions here on the YAC website.
Following on from our session in March, we headed out into the woods...! We went to Joyden's Wood which is looked after by the Woodland Trust, and measured some of the large trees. We also surveyed and recorded the ancient ditch.
Our May session was held on site. We opened some of the trenches for digging. We were also joined by James Dilley (www.ancientcraft.co.uk) who led us in a flint knapping session. You can read more about this session here.
Our June meeting was on site once again. We tried some experimental archaeology. We added a slip pattern to a biscuit-fired pots using sticks, leaves and our fingers. We had to make a decision as to how wet we had the slip. We then fired them in a bonfire. For how long? We had to guess! There's more about this meeting here.
On site, on a beautifully sunny day in July, we continued our excavations, we did a little metal detecting and we learnt to record the trench using a grid square.
This month we headed back on site after a very wet couple of weeks. We cleared our trenches and started to dig again. We made a shelter and had some fun in a hammock.
On a wet October day we met on site and learnt about coinage and tokens as a means of trading as opposed to bartering. We looked at ancient trade routes and commodities. We looked at old British coins, made monarch timelines. We then polished a coin and made a keyring.
This month we looked at the traditions of Bonfire Night. We discussed Guy Fawkes and looked at why people made guys and burnt them. We made our own guy and put it on the bonfire! We then toasted marshmallows and had hot chocolate. Yum!
At our last meeting of the year, back in the archives at Bexleyheath Library, we discussed how Father Christmas travelled the world in one night and how there was an online tracker so they could see where he was and how many presents he had delivered. We then made a clock to take home.
So all in all a very busy year for Bexley YAC! We had loads of fun and learnt lots of new skills too.
2017 promises to be another brilliant year for the club. You can find out what we've got planned, and how to join the club in our section of the YAC website.
Blog by Fran Hills, Bexley YAC leader