Newton Flotman Primary Pupils Get Hands On With History

October 5, 2023

Newton Flotman Church of England Primary Academy, part of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust, hosted a Citizen Archaeology Project to gain insight about history and its artefacts as part of their history curriculum, learning about the Anglo-Saxons and Scots.

Mr Peter Heath, Dig Director for A Citizen Archaeology Project, explained to the children that about 60 people were involved in the 2023 dig and that it involved both archaeologists, local people and archaeology students from universities, as well as local legitimate metal detectorist clubs.

The project, which has been running for five years, includes sites from Pre-Roman, Roman, Saxon and Medieval eras which are being worked on.

Miss Bethany Prentice, Year 5/6 class Teacher said: “As part of our History curriculum, the Year 5/6 class at Newton Flotman Primary School have been learning about the Anglo-Saxons and Scots. Mr Heath kindly offered to come into our class to share with us some fascinating facts about the Saxon artefacts he had found, which included a metal Saxon brooch and a 1600-year-old Saxon spear head!”

She added: “He told us that most people in their lifetimes would never get to experience handling something as old as a Saxon spear head and usually such artefacts would be behind glass in a museum!  The children were enthralled by Mr Heath’s presentation and felt privileged to hold and examine the spear head, which still had the remnants of part of the wood from the spear in it. They took great care with it and had lots of questions for our visitor. It’s times like these that really make history come alive for the children and connects them with what they are learning through real world experiences.”

The 2023 season included three sites, one of which was an early Saxon grave site, with both inhumations (whole body burials) with grave goods, and cremation urns, also with grave goods. The earliest dated finds are from 550CE on this site.

The Saxon site was in use at the time of the Sutton Hoo Ship burials but would have been from an entirely different group.

Laura Richardson, Executive Deputy Headteacher said: “The children were incredibly lucky to be able to handle such a rare artefact and this enabled them to use their enquiry skills to ask thoughtful and relevant questions which Mr Heath answered in detail.”