Dr Oliver Harris from Leicester University gave a two part talk to the first and second year archaeology students at King Edward VI College, Nuneaton.
Dr Harris gave a fascinating overview of Prehistoric Neolithic Monuments focusing on ritual and feasting practices seen in monuments known as causewayed enclosures and also on burial practices of the neolithic.
The University lecturer also gave a specialised talk for the second year students on the origins of farming in Britain during the Neolithic Period and discussed reasons why archaeologists believe people became farmers. This enabled the students to put the case studies they had been learning in class into a wider context.
He also discussed the realities of doing an archaeological dig, and how when he was completing research in Northern Scotland on a prehistoric site his team actually discovered the first ever Viking boat burial found in the British Isles. It was good for the students to understand that archaeology is not all about the high tech approach that is presented by television!
Student Jade Ridgill said, “The talk was very helpful, and covered some of the work we have done already so it was very useful for revision”
Dr Harris is also an admissions tutor for the University of Leicester degree in archaeology, and therefore was able to give students some very focused advice on their university applications as half of the current second years are considering applying for an archaeology degree.
Alex Husband, a KEC student, commented that “not only was it a great talk, especially hearing about actual digs, but there was a lot of useful information about undergraduate courses too.” The archaeology A Level at King Edwards College is a fairly new addition to the broad spectrum of A Levels offered by the college as it is only in its second year, but the programme has proved to be popular with students with many keen to continue their studies.
Michelle Thick, Teacher of History at the college, said “It is good for students to meet young practising archaeologists and see that there are really exciting opportunities for fieldwork out there, as well as gaining first-hand research and case study examples for use in their exams.” Dr Harris concluded ‘I very much enjoyed coming to speak to the Kind Edward VI archaeology students. It was a great opportunity to come and speak to pupils with a great interest and knowledge of archaeology, and share some of my ideas and perspectives on the past. Studying archaeology at A-level is a great way to prepare for university, whether you go on to study that subject or not, because of the huge range of skills it gives you, from understanding radiocarbon dating to critical thinking’.