I set up this page as an accessible online home for the otherwise unpublished data that I am presenting at the Experimental Archaeology UK conference.
The annual Experimental Archaeology UK conference is a great experience. Interesting presentations, demonstration sessions and visits. A friendly, welcoming atmosphere. A wide range of attendees from around the world. Researchers at different stages in their careers, under-grads and post-grads, re-enacters, crafts-people, teachers.
The 2015 conference was hosted by University College Dublin. I presented a poster about Experimental Archaeology in the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC). The poster reports the results of a survey of YAC Leaders.
The purpose of the survey was to find out how many Leaders use experimental archaeology in their Branches of the Club; what their understanding of experimental archaeology is; and what barriers they experience, if any, to using experimental archaeology with the 8- to 17-year-olds participating in their Club activities.
The UK benefits from a large number of venues where experiential archaeology (living history and re-enactment) is used for educational purposes for visiting school children and families. Sometimes this is embedded in a site’s educational “offer”; at others it is an occasional experience, for example organised for school holiday activities.
An arguably smaller number of venues make explicit use of experimental archaeology with younger audiences, despite its attraction as an engaging method which, as well as teaching about the past, can help to develop other skills such as numeracy and language, and concepts such as a fair test. That such venues are scattered nationwide means that fewer young people are likely to come into contact with experimental archaeology, than experiential.
Experimental archaeology, however, might be expected to feature in the activities of the UK-wide Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC). Experimental archaeology’s strong teaching value and fun, engaging potential should recommend it to YAC Leader Teams planning their activities.
There are 69 YAC Branches (with more currently in development). Meeting usually monthly, the Branches offer a range of hands-on learning experiences for children across the UK. Although there are geographic gaps in its provision, city-centre and rural areas, prosperous and deprived areas alike are served by the network. Far more children might learn from and contribute to experimental archaeology through this outlet. Do they?
The anonymized survey responses and data are available in this .pdf file: EAUK15 survey results
Here is a digital version of the conference poster:
And here is each panel from the poster – click each to see a larger version. They are a pale imitation of the real thing. The real-world poster is 3D and interactive, and there are actual artefacts from YAC activities fixed to panel 8!