It’s no wonder the Young Archaeologists’ Club in Kendal is so popular, how many young people get the chance to explore the past in such an exciting, hands on way? …. Well, with 70 branches all over the country, it seems quite a few! We find out more about what local young people are getting up to in their Saturday morning club.
SUNDAY MORNING RE ENACTMENTS!
A Saturday morning and Brythnoth stands surrounded by his thegns, the brave band defending Essex from attacking Vikings. Or rather fourteen young people are standing in the basement of Kendal Museum skillfully directed by a Young Archaeologist Club leader who is an experienced re enactor and who has advanced qualifications in Viking warfare.
KENDAL YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGISTS
Kendal Museum has been a home to the Young Archaeologists’ Club for over twenty years having been set up in the 1990’s by the then curator Meriel Wainwright, under the wing of the Council of British Archaeology. Since then it has been led by a range of volunteers drawn from curators, Portable Antiquity Scheme experts, a re-enactor, Museum Skills Diploma graduates and the museum education officer.
ARE YOU AGED BETWEEN NINE AND SIXTEEN?
The club meets once a month at the museum, now a department of Kendal College, with members between the ages of 9 and 16, who, over the years, have been drawn from North Yorkshire, Lancashire , and North Cumbria as well as the Kendal area.
The club appeals not only to those with a passion for history but also those who like to understand past worlds in a practical, and forensic way, and based at the museum we are surrounded by evidence; artifacts from prehistory, ancient Egypt, Rome and through modern times. We investigate the past with an attention to detail and many of the young members have a knowledge that seriously keeps the best qualified leader on their toes.
MEET WITH LIKED MINDED YOUNG PEOPLE!
Not everyone is an expert, though, and an active wish to explore the past and a willingness to share with others, are the best attributes in a member. It is their passion and curiosity which draws the young people together, and over the decades many parents have reported that the club provides an opportunity for their children to meet with like minded others who are as interested in more esoteric subjects, for example the coinage of Ethelred the Unready, the finer points of vampire traditions and cures for the plague, or basically any odd topic, as they are in the more popular subjects of teams, music and online games.
The conversation at the meetings is certainly lively. As a leader I have met many former members years later and I can guarantee they are interested and interesting people who have entered a broad range of future paths – not only in archaeology.
WHAT WE GET UP TO
Over recent years members have investigated artifacts, visited Roman and Viking sites, have had training in flint knapping from perhaps one of the best knappers in the country, taken part in research excavations ( although as these have to be led by professionals they are limited in number) , joined in with re enactors and had a lesson in archery – among many other activities. Perhaps this is why we always have a waiting list.
YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGY CLUB
Over the whole country there are some 70 branches and by contacting the YAC at the Council of British Archaeology: http://www.yac-uk.org/join-a-club you can access an interactive map to find the nearest branch to you. If you want to find us at Kendal Museum please contact [email protected] or [email protected] Anna Hall, Museum Education Officer and one of the present YAC leaders.