ArcPal's Dr Siobhán McDermott and Grace McAlister led a Geophysical Survey Open Day for Primary Schools at Antrim Gardens in Portrush in June 2019. The event was hosted by Portrush Heritage Group and was funded by Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council through their PEACE IV programme.
Over 100 children attended from Portrush PS, St Patricks PS, Mill Strand PS and Carnalridge PS. It was a great day out with the children getting to explore how archaeologists use geophysics to look underneath the soil. Siobhán also told them about the results from a geophysical survey she carried out in Antrim Gardens last year and the archaeological excavation that took place there in 2005.
From the 28 May to 1 June, the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork co-ordinated a 'Skills of the Ancients' week, sponsored by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in partnership with Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Throughout the week there were evening lectures by Tom McErlean, Colm Donnelly and Cormac McSparron which explored the archaeology of the Castle Gardens and the prehistoric and early medieval archaeology of the Antrim area. The week also provided QUB students and local primary school children with the opportunity to learn skills like pottery making, willow weaving, cord making and flint knapping - all skills used and perfected by our ancestors thousands of years ago. Under the guidance of John Martin the students then constructed a pit kiln to fire some fo the pots that were constructed. The week culminated with the “Skills of the Ancestors Festival” in Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 1st June with aprroximately 2,700 attending.
From 21 - 24 May, the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork facilitated the "Discovering Our Past" education programme co-ordinated by the Hill of the O Neill and Ranfurly House. The team introduced local pupils to the work of archaeologists and explained some of the discoveries made during the previous excavation at the Hill of the O Neill.
This was the third year that CAF were involved in 'Discovering Our Past' and and this year 157 pupils and 23 members of staff took part. The participating schools were St Patrick’s PS, Dungannon, St Patrick’s PS, Annaghmore, Coalisland, Tamnamore Learning Centre, Dungannon and Cookstown High School. Thanks to Peter Lant (Education Officier at the Hill of the O Neill) for organising the event and asking CAF to get involved.
In May 2019, the CAF co-ordinated the 'Discovering Ancient Skills - Archaeology Festival' at Oxford Island. The event which coincided with QUB development week was organised by the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership, the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, and the Heritage Lottery Fund (NI). The participating QUB students turned their hand to selecting and gathering willow and hazel rods for wickerwork and wattling, flint knapping, pottery making, kiln construction and baskest weaving. The week of acitivity culminated with a public festival on Sunday which allowed our students the opportunity show off and pass on their new found skills and knowledge to the public.
Members of the Ranelagh Osteoarchaeology Project recently ran a series of workshops on human osteoarchaeology that were attended by students from schools in Dublin and Roscommon as part of Science Week in 2018 and 2019. The event was organised in partnership with staff from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (Martin Jones, Ronan Swan and Lilian Butler) and the National Museum of Ireland (Siobhan McGarry and Annie Birney). Prof Eileen Murphy gave an introduction to some of the main findings of the burials at Ranelagh, while Sarah Gormley, Grace McAlister, Lauren Halstead and Jess White ran practical activities that enabled the students to try out some osteoarchaeological methods for themselves. The team all enjoyed working within the spectacular setting at Kildare Street.
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