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Young historians a hit with their film

The Hirst Park Middle School Rescued from the Sea film crew with lead archaeologist Dr Clive Waddington and Philippa Cockburn, project education officer from Archaeological Research Services Ltd. Left to right: Olivia Sprudd, Clive Waddington, Dylan Mackenzie, Liam Armstrong, Emma Rennison, Philippa Cockburn and Kaly Douglas. Picture by Simon Williams/Crest Photography.

The Hirst Park Middle School Rescued from the Sea film crew with lead archaeologist Dr Clive Waddington and Philippa Cockburn, project education officer from Archaeological Research Services Ltd. Left to right: Olivia Sprudd, Clive Waddington, Dylan Mackenzie, Liam Armstrong, Emma Rennison, Philippa Cockburn and Kaly Douglas. Picture by Simon Williams/Crest Photography.

Budding historians and investigative journalists received a special visit after documenting the excavation and rescue of delicate prehistoric remains.

Pupils at Hirst Park Middle School, in Ashington, created a series of films looking at the excavation work carried out at Druridge Bay.

And they were treated to a visit from Dr Clive Waddington, of Archaeological Research Services Ltd, who held a workshop with the students to talk more about the ‘Rescues from the Sea’ community archaeology project at Low Hauxley.

Some of the artefacts recovered from the multi-period site include 14,000 flints, narrow-bladed microliths, pottery beakers, Bronze Age serrated knives and a spectacular Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead.

The excavation also uncovered an Iron Age structure with a stone flagged surface and three stone-lined hearths, a Bronze Age cemetery and a 16m wide burial cairn.

As well as looking at the progress of the excavations, the films produced by the students also looked at the community and educational aspects, generating over 100,000 hits on YouTube.

Brian Cosgrove, media manager at Hirst Park Middle and the Ashington Learning Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Dr Waddington and his team for a project update.

“When Hirst Park Middle School arrived with a team of young investigative journalists and a plan to make a series of video features, we took the educational element in a slightly different direction.

“Our student media crews worked with volunteers and professionals throughout the excavation and I am very proud of their achievements.

“The final cuts are extremely professional and we’ve had fantastic feedback from the archaeology team and partners at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.”

Dr Waddington said: “Giving young people the opportunity to be a part of an inspiring and exciting project like this is fantastic in so many ways.

“They’re directly involved in discovering, understanding and recording their past heritage, the changing landscape and life in Northumberland through the ages.

“The film crews from Hirst Park Middle School have been great to work with. Their enthusiasm and professionalism was exceptional and the films have brought an important dimension to the project, giving people a fantastic insight into the excavation.”

Further evidence of Mesolithic activity has also been found in an inter-tidal peat bed located to the south of the site.

Impressed into the peat are over 100 animal and human footprints, created when hunter-gatherer-fisher groups lived in this area. Both adult and child footprints have been identified. Radiocarbon dating has confirmed that the footprints are approximately 7,000 years old.

Rescued from the Sea is a partnership project formed primarily between Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Archaeological Research Services Ltd, with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund.

Once all the artefacts from the dig have been studied and recorded they will go on exhibition at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

 

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