Local Primary School Learns All Things Ancient History with IntoUni

Posted on: 16 December 2019 by Kristian Boote in 2019 posts

Children from local schools in Anfield took part in a special week-long focus on Ancient History. Kristian Boote, PhD Student in Evolutionary Anthropology, provides an overview of the week.

This semester I’ve been working with the national charity IntoUni, delivering outreach session to children from local schools in Anfield as part a special week-long focus on Ancient History. My specific focus as an Archaeology of Human Origins PhD student was of course ‘Before Civilisation: Ancient Human Origins’. For the sessions we looked at skeletons, stone tools and animal bones, and how, using archaeology, we can reconstruct ancient lives before the classical civilisations and farming, and even before our own species evolved.

We looked at how ancient skeletons, pieced backed together, can tell us about how ancient humans looked, walked, ate, and survived in their different and ever changing landscapes. Next we looked at what ancient stone tools can tell us about the brain power of ancient humans, and skills in planning, teaching and language, and even how we can use the same archaeology on humans to look at our living primate cousins! And finally, we looked at how animal bones found in archaeology can tell us about how ancient humans interacted with other animals in their environment, what their environment would have looked like, and what animals meant to people in our ancient past.

To get to grips with how archaeologists go about reconstructing ancient lives, I brought along some bone casts of different ancient humans and even ancient primates; some flint flakes and cores to investigate how we reconstruct how stone tools were made, and even millennia old marine fossils found in flint cobbles; and finally a collection of real animal bones to learn how we work out which animals these bones came from, and what that can tell us about the humans we find evidence of alongside them.

Each week finished with a tour of the University campus and a special visit to ‘The Cave’ to look at how students and researchers at the University try to understand the how and why of ancient human cave-art! Afterwards, there is a mini Graduation ceremony for the pupils and parents, complete with cap and gowns and with everyone receiving a certificate to acknowledge their hard work throughout the week!

Together, designing, planning and delivering these outreach sessions to schools is a really rewarding experience. The sessions not only benefits myself with teaching experience and feedback, but also really means something to children to inspire them to think about further learning, university, and of course to think about who we are as a species, why we do what we do, where do we come from, and where are we going! I really encourage anyone interested to get involved and think about volunteering and outreach as a really valuable and rewarding experience!


If you would like to know more about the widening participation endeavours in North Liverpool, you can also contact the IntoUniversity North Liverpool team at northliverpool@intouniversity.org!

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Study in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology