Bringing the past to life!

Primary History article

By Julian Richards, published 19th July 2009

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

As an archaeologist who, after being a bit bored with history at school, discovered the excitement of the past through digging in dirt and finding things, I get frustrated by people not ‘getting' what archaeology can offer in primary education.

The past is about people, something that museums thankfully grasped some time ago when they went from being three dimensional catalogues of objects to places where the past comes alive. Most museum visitors don't want to know whether a Roman amphora is a Dressel 1B or a 1C, they want to know what it contained, want to imagine the smell of wine or rotting fish sauce, the voyage and the strange voices of traders from afar. It's people who provide the connection with the past; ordinary people whose lives shaped the countryside, villages, towns and cities that we now live in. And it's archaeology that makes that connection with these past people through the buildings and objects that they left behind; our heritage (‘what is or may be inherited')...

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