At the end of last term, Year 3 and 4 ventured back in time on our visit to Butser Ancient Farm, which is a settlement of reconstructed Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo Saxon dwellings.
Year 3 explored the Iron Age and Bronze Age thatched roundhouses, constructed with wattle and daub walls and high, oak-beamed, straw-covered, conical roofs. The first house had an open fire blazing in the centre of its mud floor, with an iron pot hanging above it (our first clue that we were in the iron age). The only light flooded in from the double wooden doors. As soon as the doors closed we were enveloped in darkness. Deer skins lay on the floor so we could imagine iron age children getting up from their animal skin blankets in the morning to greet the iron age day.
We set to work practising our wattling skills, weaving hazel branches through oak posts to make secure fencing for our flocks of sheep. Our guide, Louise explained that metal jewellery were signs of power and wealth during the Iron Age so we learned how to use tools to bend and shape copper wire to make rings. After an iron age lunch al fresco, we completed an archaeological dig, unearthing hidden treasures and thinking carefully about what these incomplete artefacts might be.
Finally, the highlight of our day was a very messy activity. We mined and crushed chalk into fine powder to mix with water, straw and mud ( also harvested by our own fair hands which by this time were very mucky!) to make clunch which is an iron age building cement. We formed clunch bricks for building a wall in the new Iron Age roundhouse. Each St John’s child has contributed to an historical experiment to explore how Iron Age people mixed their cement.
Tired but inspired by our trip into the past, we made our journey back through time to present day Sevenoaks.