Anglo-Saxon heritage of Bamburgh brought to life for 21st century students

A new learning resource has been created to bring the Bamburgh Bones story to life in the classroom.

Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 5:30 pm

Filled with lots of imaginative learning activities, it supports teaching and learning about the Anglo-Saxons and Northern Saints in Key Stage 2.

The resource focuses on the Anglo-Saxon heritage of Bamburgh, from the time of King Oswald and St Aidan.

Some 1,400 years ago, Bamburgh was the cosmopolitan and spiritual capital of the great kingdom of Northumbria.

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Visitors view the installation in the St Aidan's Church ossuary.

The learning resource includes material for at least six lessons, covering archaeology, history and Christianity.

Through videos, PowerPoint presentations and downloadable learning activities, the learning resource covers how the archaeologists excavated the Bowl Hole; what the science told them about the health and lives of those buried; the significance of the ossuary; life in Bamburgh and the arrival of Aidan and Christianity.

Each lesson comes with comprehensive teachers’ notes and the PowerPoint presentations act like a “classroom assistant” so that everyone can feel confident to use it.

The learning resource was written by Elizabeth Baker, who has spent nearly 30 years teaching and creating learning resources about Anglo-Saxon Northumbria through her roles as education officer at Bede’s World then Durham Cathedral, and as a freelance storyteller and heritage learning practitioner.

Part of the Bamburgh Bones learning resource.

Elizabeth said: “The Bowl Hole excavations give a fascinating new insight into life at the Northumbrian royal court at Bamburgh. I hope the learning resource will provide new and imaginative learning materials, which give teachers the opportunity to embed a local focus when teaching about Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots in the National Curriculum for History.”

Project officer, Jessica Turner, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be launching this new digital education resource. Elizabeth’s expertise and enthusiasm for this fantastic Anglo-Saxon topic shines through. The whole Bamburgh Bones story is so exciting that it makes it extra special that we can now take the story out to schools and our young people.”

Elizabeth has also created a loans box of replica artefacts linked to the lives of seven of the people buried in the Bowl Hole cemetery. The box will be available for hire shortly.

The creation of this learning resource has been made possible through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It can be found at