Friday, 25 November 2016

Skulls, bones and stones

African wilds 
and ancient caves

hand axe

hyena tooth
Then there were bones and stones and teeth. Small hands carefully handling, turning over a flint axe, fresh flaked by James Dilley* in a wonder of precision, laying bone needles on a delicate palm, and wrapping a friend in reindeer hide**  and sitting him down with a wooden bowl and a stone knife and deciding that Stone Age school uniforms look more exciting than contemporary ones

Stone Age Days, Bone Detectives, an avalanche of ancient stories and excitable Reception children. “is it snowing rain or is it raining snow?” They posed the question (Colne-Primet Primary gets its pupils thinking!). None of us could answer it, but we mapped our adventure with snowflakes melting onto card, mud from the squelchy puddle, mud from the plant pots, mud from our boots, muddy wool from our gloves and the wind that whirled the rainy snow around the playground and the wind that threw the snowy rain full into our cold faces….This was a week that ended in snow but began in Africa - at least Africa in Chester with Overleigh St Mary’s Primary school and shaping stories, taking tales and retelling them, adding new detail and extra hyenas, or lions, or whales or sharks or crocodiles….

Buxton Junior School, slid into some stone age work with ease: telling us of their adventures with cave bears and wolves, unfolding Stone age Toolkits. With Bone Detetcives we became more analytical: asking questions, turning over mysterious skulls and trying to deduce their identities - or just lifestyles and challenging each other with our trickiest finds.
flint blade

Rewarding days and 450 children later at the weekend we found the Treasures of the peaks with the Knights of the Chapel. But that is another story.

a well-furnished cave with stone tools, fire platform and a cheerful family

* James Dilley: archaeologist and person of excitement! James will be back with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery in March for a weekend of Bronze Casting. if you would like more information on joining this workshop, drop me an email and i will send you information when details are finalised in the next few weeks:

** relax, it was fake

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