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Children learn about secrets of the sand

Left to right: Gil (8), Caitlin (8), Aidan (8), Katy-Ann (8), Brandon (6), Raegan (6), Charlie (4) with their timeline.

Left to right: Gil (8), Caitlin (8), Aidan (8), Katy-Ann (8), Brandon (6), Raegan (6), Charlie (4) with their timeline.

Pupils from a north Northumberland first school have been busy sharing the secrets of the sand at Low Hauxley with their classmates.

The children, from Acklington C of E First School, had previously joined Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s successful Rescued from the Sea archaeology project at Druridge Bay last July.

It saw hundreds of volunteers of all ages take part in a special archaeological dig, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, to unearth an 8,000-year-old Bronze Age burial mound and a Mesolithic settlement dating back to 6,100BC.

At the time, the pupils participated in the Footprint Project, which included scraping back the sand and making plaster casts of animal footprints including the now extinct auroch which are ancestors of domestic cattle that inhabited Europe until the 1600s.

Last week, the children re-visited the project, this time from the warmth of their classroom, making copies of Bronze Age beaker pots, which were then placed along a timeline next to genuine flints and tools recovered during the dig last summer.

As the session was run by Northumberland Wildlife Trust, it went without saying that Tracy Evans, people and wildlife officer with the charity, had the children thinking about the longevity of nature over the past 8,000 years.

Everything from the extinct auroch to the red deer, which was alive then and is still very much alive now, and how the tracks and trails they leave from muddy footprints on the classroom floor to dirty handprints on their desks are just the same as those left by animals in worlds gone by.

Tracy said: “The Rescued from the Sea project was really great as it fired up children’s enthusiasm and got them thinking about what happened on their own ‘doorstep’ thousands of years ago.

“The timeline approach was a great way of showing them how the time period they are living in now is tiny compared to all that has gone on generations before. Who knows, one day, one of them may end up presenting Time Team on Channel 4.”

 

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