9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Whitaker
Experimental Archaeology in the Young Archaeologists’ Club
This paper presents the results of a survey of UK Young Archaeologists’ Club Leaders. The purpose of the survey was to find out how many Leaders use experimental archaeology in their Branches of the Club; what their understanding of experimental archaeology is; and what barriers they experience, if any, to using experimental archaeology with the 8 to 16 year-olds participating in their Club activities.
The UK benefits from a large number of venues where experiential archaeology is used for educational purposes for visiting school children and families. Sometimes this is embedded in a site’s educational “offer”; at others it is an occasional experience, tied for example to school holidays.
An arguably smaller number of venues make explicit use of experimental archaeology with younger audiences, despite its attraction as an engaging method which, as well as teaching about the past, can help to develop other skills such as numeracy and language, and concepts such as a fair test. That such venues are scattered nationwide means that fewer young people are likely to come into contact with experimental archaeology, than experiential.
Experimental archaeology, however, might be expected to feature in the activities of the UKwide Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC). Experimental archaeology’s strong teaching value and fun, engaging potential should recommend it to YAC Leader Teams planning their activities.
There are 68 YAC Branches (with more currently in development). Meeting usually monthly, the Branches offer a range of hands-on learning experiences for children across the UK. Although there are geographic gaps in its provision, city-centre and rural areas, prosperous and deprived areas alike are served by the network. Far more children might learn from and contribute to experimental archaeology through this outlet. Do they?