Archaeologists Discover Last Neanderthals - Archaeologists have finished an important discover on a promontory to assist illustrate the home of the last Neanderthals in northwest Europe. An archaeol...
1 month ago
“We encourage children not only to use their imaginations but also, as far as possible, to use their five senses to experience what it might have been like living in those far off times. The Schools Educational Programme is directed to meet several of
the specific requirements of the National Curriculum…” ~ Butser Education CIC
Charcoal Clamp at Butser Ancient Farm (c. 1994)
This pyramid fire was covered with straw and then soil in order to keep air out, thus preventing combustion of the wood inside. The fire burned slowly for about 36 hours, so that the timber would reduce into carbon to produce charcoal.
My early experience at Butser Ancient Farm
Some time ago, I attended a workshop called “Fire, Clay and Metal”, which was mainly aimed at examining the role of fire in prehistory and the Roman period and the development of metallurgy. Topics included the agricultural use of fire, pottery production and kiln construction and firing, as well as practical work in the production and alloying of metals from base ores using bowl and shaft furnaces.
Despite attending this workshop a very long time ago, it left a positive and everlasting impression, to such an extent that some of the supplementary early technology courses I later attended with my first degree seemed somewhat inferior by comparison. I was fortunate to be able to spend my then five-day residential course working in a relatively small group that was directed by the wonderful Dr. Peter Reynolds. At the start of each day we received appropriate instruction for the topic at hand before embarking onto our lively experiments. The course was so comprehensive that we not only refined our clay in order to make pottery, but we also constructed a charcoal clamp and Iron Age pottery kiln before firing our own handiwork!
Despite Pete’s unwelcome departure, I am pleased to hear that Butser Ancient Farm’s educational component is still thriving and continues to offer many stimulating and quality experienced-based activities to people of all ages and aptitudes.