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10,000 Years BC - What We Do

10,000 Years BC aims to improve understanding of our Palaeolithic (early Stone Age) prehistory with workshops and demonstrations that display authentic-looking replica artefacts, implements and garments of the period.

Most of our school work is based in the North West region, especially Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Warrington, Wirral, and North Staffordshire.

 


Update

The usual live workshop format described below is suspended for Autumn term 2020 and we are offering an alternative mode of supporting learning.

We are taking provisional bookings for live workshops in the Spring term

For details of our alternative Autumn term scheme please visit our Home Page

 


For a list of selected links, resources and downloads for distance learning during Summer term school closures
please visit our
Resources Page


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KS2 Archaeology and Stone Age Workshops in Primary Schools

Our half-day KS2 Archaeology and Stone Age workshop is typically divided into two practical sessions with break/playtime in between, covering archaeology, chronology, evidence-based learning, Palaeolithic lifestyles, and hands-on history including artefact handling and recording. These workshops can run for up to three hours (dependent upon your timetabling) and are based in the children's usual classroom with Dave (ex-teacher) role-playing as a Field Archaeologist, then dressing as a Palaeolithic Hunter-Gatherer for the final hour. Pre-visit preparation notes and a unique multimedia follow-up resource pack are included in the programme. Outdoor bushcraft type activities are not part of our workshop, but we will show and discuss many of the related tools, techniques and materials, thus providing a firm prehistoric context for any forest school work you may be planning. We will provide you with a full risk assessment in advance to save admin time, and will not use the projector screen or talk non-stop - we are mindful of both safety and good practice in today's classroom(!)

Archaeology
Support Materials
Mammoth
Archaeology and Chronology are
also covered in our half-day session.
Our 2019-20 multimedia support pack includes
computer files, a book, and a replica artefact.
..and we won't forget to mention
Woolly Mammoth and other Ice Age beasts!

Our learning activities are carefully cross-referenced to the specific requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for KS2 (Primary) History. The NC's statutory focus is on changes between the Stone Age and the Iron Age, so we believe that starting with the pre-agricultural Palaeolithic will provide the best learning opportunities. We work with teachers, teaching assistants and up to 32 pupils per session in their own classroom, removing the need for time-consuming school trip administration and preparation, and any additional transport or staffing costs. You won't need to book the school hall, and for full day two session bookings we can work flexibly with a rapid room change to ensure that both classes will have sessions of equal duration.

 

Stone Age Boy by Satoshi Kitamura

Much of our workshop content addresses subject matter featured in the excellent children's storybook Stone Age Boy by Satoshi Kitamura, especially the numerous Stone Age activities shown on pages 15 - 17. This book is a popular learning resource in many of the schools we have visited - if you are not using it already we can highly recommend it for its accurate and accessible depictions of Stone Age lifestyles.

 

ISBN (paperback): 978-1406312195
Publisher: Walker Books

 

Usborne Stone Age

 

Another book which closely matches the material we cover is The Stone Age by Jerome Martin, part of the Usborne Beginner's series. Again, accurate and accessible depictions of living in the Stone Age, backed by expert advice and supported with diagrams and photographs, but not in a story format. Aimed at readers from 5 upwards and in our opinion ideal for KS2 learners.

 

 

ISBN (hardback): 978-1409586418
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd

 

The Wolf's Boy

 

Moving into fiction, and better suited to older or more advanced KS2 readers, The Wolf's Boy would be a welcome addition to any school library or classroom bookshelf. It follows the fortunes of Kai, born with a disability into a clan of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers. Kai forms a close bond with a young wolf with whom he shares various adventures in a world very different to ours. Meticulously researched, this story will add to any child's knowledge and understanding of the Old Stone Age, and would help to supplement their formal learning.

 

 

ISBN : 1484725530, 978-1484725535
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

 

Our workshop provides a unique and memorable starting point for the statutory Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age element of KS2 History.

 


Feedback received from schools:

"I just wanted to say a big thank you for the day that you did in Year 3...This week I did a children's voice for topic and the children said how much they enjoyed it and they could tell me all about what they had learnt it was really impressive. They were telling me all sorts of things so thank you for making such an impact on them." Curriculum co-ordinator, Cheshire

"The recent workshop experience was fantastic for all the children and staff! Real, practical investigative learning took place.. The workshops were engaging with opportunities to observe real historical artefacts. Moreover, the children were given opportunities to voice their existing knowledge of the Stone Age as aspiring archaeologists. A final question time with Dave dressed as Stone Age hunter/gatherer really caught the children's attention.. Many thanks for this memorable experience. Highly recommended from staff and pupils." KS2 class teacher, Manchester

"Year 3 really enjoyed the whole afternoon and were very engaged and enthused by the activities - they particularly enjoyed being archaeologists! They also loved asking the 'Stone Age' man lots of questions to find out more information about life in the Stone Age. Thank you for a fun-filled informative afternoon!" KS2 class teacher, Cheshire

"The children really enjoyed the whole day! It was lovely for them to get a hands on feel of objects from the time and provided them with an excellent opportunity to apply the knowledge that they had gained over the course of the topic, through them handling artefacts and objects that would be hard come by as a NQT. A key strength of the day was the subject knowledge you both possess, Dave was especially brilliant at answering any question the children had! They also gained so much from “seeing a real life” pre-historic man. They were then able to have a brilliant visual reference to the people we have been learning about. I would definitely recommend this course to other teachers who are covering the Stone Age to Iron Age topic, or about to start it." KS2 class teacher, Cheshire

"The workshop was magnificent! The children had to recall their favourite memories of the school year so far and so many of them recalled different activities from your workshop. It was an excellent opportunity which supported our teaching very well and helped their Stone Age topic come to life.  We will definitely book you in again for another fun-filled and exciting morning! Thank you." KS2 class teacher, Cheshire

"Thanks ever so much again for the wonderful day you provided for us...The children chose their genre as to how they shared their learning - so some pretended to be archaeologists and did diary entries, some did information leaflets, others did non-chronological reports and some stories! I've been recommending you to everyone I meet." Y3/4 teacher, West Yorkshire

"Thanks again for the 10,000 BC workshop. The children are still talking about it now! It was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I have attached some letters the children wrote to you." Y3 teacher, Cheshire

10000 Years BC feedback

For further Primary Workshop details, rates, and bookings please contact us by e-mail.

 


Events, training, heritage sites, history-based organisations and societies

Palaeolithic hunter

Presentations, workshops or longer visits at your chosen venue, attendance at conferences, open events or at collection, exhibition, and gallery launches.

Dave has previously worked as a school teacher and as a visitor guide at a working museum, so is familiar with presenting our heritage to audiences of all ages and interests.

During 2015 we supported a museum exhibition opening, offered a workshop at the Horrible Histories stage show in Llandudno, and attended a living history event at Cheshire's Beeston Castle.

We ran two practical sessions for delegates at the Historical Association's 2016 conference in Harrogate, and ran a further two sessions for the SHP Inspiring Primary History Conference at The British Museum in December.

In October 2016 we ran an exhibitor's table at The Midland History Forum at Birmingham University's School of Education.

In 2017 we also ran a practical session for delegates entitled The Stone Age - Hands On Prehistory, which was well received. We attended the Northern History Forum at Leeds Trinity University in November, not only as exhibitors but also running a session entitled Surviving The Stone Age, which was attended by over 20 delegates from a variety of educational organisations.

We repeated our Surviving The Stone Age session at the Historical Association's 2019 Conference in Chester. The session was recorded and is available to HA members as a Primary CPD resource.

In October 2019 we ran a provider's stand at the HA's Midland History Forum at The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

 

To discuss your requirements and our rates for any event related work involving 10,000 Years BC, please contact Dave Trevor

 


HUNTING AND GATHERING - where we've been and what we've seen since 2015


2020

It's fair to say that 2020 hasn't quite turned out as anybody had planned or hoped for. Family illnesses at the start of the year led to some workshop postponements, and sadly two cancellations. Then as Covid-19 took a hold in late March we had to cancel four school visits, but our 2019-20 school year has been, despite it all, our busiest to date and we had no more bookings to fulfil between April and July. At least we have that to be thankful for. We have now worked in over 120 different primary schools since late 2014.

No overseas trips to prehistoric sites are possible this year, so nothing new to report on that front. Like most people we live in hope for 2021.

The autumn term holds only one certainty for 10,000 Years BC - that schools will not be working as normal. Reorganised classes with little opportunity for group work and shared artefact handling will mean that we cannot work in our usual manner, visiting different schools every day. Whilst it would be easy to simply hang up the red deerskins and put the flint tools into storage until better times, we've decided to keep trying to support children's learning, and to change our offering.

Consequently Dave has spent most of his lockdown time preparing the contents of 10 artefact loan boxes, and is in the process of video recording our workshop sessions and other learning support materials Fortunately our supplier in France, Antiqua Perigord, has been working as normally as possible and we have taken delivery of a number of new replicas for use in the classroom. Dave has been applying his knowledge of our ancient past to create more Stone Age style item. His more recent past as a Head of Media in high school is helping him to record numerous educational video clips, and eventually to televise our entire workshop session. Our lounge now sports the fixing brackets for a 3 metre wide green screen, and whilst video editing technology has moved on since 2009, he's still confident of a quality outcome, good health permitting.

Another change of plan for September 2020 onwards - we will be limiting our working range to no more than 40 miles from home. No more overnight Travelodge stops and long journeys. We'd already decided this before the pandemic outbreak, partly as a concession to age - we both reached 60 last year and need to aim for a different work-life balance. Still working, but more life too. As much as we have enjoyed working in far-flung exotic places like London, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester and Nottingham, we'll be staying closer to home in future, confining our activities to the North West region only.

Plenty to work at anyway, even though times are uncertain. All we can say to you for now is stay safe, and watch this space..

 


10,000 Years BC 2019

During 2019 another string was added to our metaphorical bow - Dave worked as a core volunteer between February and October on the English Heritage Bronze Age roundhouse reconstruction project at Beeston Castle directed by Luke Winter of Historic Concepts Ltd. Dave was an archaeological site volunteer at Beeston during 1980-81, so it has been a unique experience to switch from Field Archaeology to Experimental Archaeology at the same site after nearly 40 years! It was also useful to learn more about Ötzi the Iceman's period of prehistory, and good exercise too as it was all completed by hand. Luke kept a week-by-week project blog and project updates can be found on the castle's Facebook account.

Our spring travels this year took us to the Scottish Islands for four weeks, including Orkney, Lewis and Harris, and although most of their prehistoric sites post-date our specific field of interest we couldn't resist visiting Skara Brae, The Ring of Brodgar, The Stones of Stenness, Maes Howe, The Tomb of Eagles, and the Callanish Standing Stones.

In May we offered another session called Surviving The Stone Age for school teachers and heritage educators at The Historical Association's 2019 Conference in Chester - about as close to home as it could get this year.

July found Dave visiting an open day at the Ffynnon Beuno cave excavation in Denbeighshire, one of only three UK sites where Neanderthal and modern human artefacts have been uncovered in the same location, and the furthest north of all three sites. Excavation Director Rob Dinnis has been especially helpful to us, offering a selection of photos from the excavations for our resource pack. His Early Modern Human Europe website is well worth a visit, not least for its wonderful 3D models of Ice Age artefacts.

For our summer holiday we returned to France, visiting the Neanderthal Museum at La Chappelle aux Saintes for the first time, where we were seriously impressed by their archaeology display for young people. We also returned to Les Eyzies de Tayac Sireuil - You just can't keep us away from the National Museum of Prehistory and its wonderful collection! We also re-visited the Abri Pataud archaeological site for an excellent tour, and returned to the Abri Cro Magnon which has been substantially developed in recent years. It used to be just a recess in a rockface near the station - now it has a museum with woodland walks and viewpoints. Sadly we learned that flint knapper Bernard Ginelli had passed away the previous autumn, and his Palaois workshop is now closed. Our tribute to Bernard can be found on our homepage.

On Saturday 19 October we ran a provider's stand at the HA's Midland History Forum at The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

We've passed a special milestone this school year - over 100 different primary schools have booked us, with many of them having made repeat bookings since 2014. We estimate that we have worked with around 10,000 children so far. Our sincere thanks to all of you out there - it's been great fun working with you, and we look forward to future visits.

 


10,000 Years BC 2018

Moving into 2018, the sample boards we introduced last September have proven popular with the children, and we will be refurbishing our handling collection over the summer.

Cheshire's Sandstone Ridge Trust have launched an exciting new project for 2018 called Beneath The Ridge : Caves and Mines in which we plan to create a comprehensive list of the natural and man-made caves, rock shelters and other cavities beneath the Ridge. Dave is on the steering committee for this project and has already visited Liverpool University's Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, where he was able to handle and study Cheshire's oldest known prehistoric implement, a late upper Palaeolithic Creswellian stone blade excavated at the Carden Rock Shelter in the 1990s (see photo).

A weekend away in March took us through Shropshire, where we came face to face with a full-sized reconstruction of the Condover Woolly Mammoth (see photo) in the excellent and informative Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre at Craven Arms. The original mammoth was a highly significant find for the UK, indicating that the species survived around 4,000 years later here than previously thought.

Our spring trip to France took us to three new sites of interest for our work, starting with the Musée des Merveilles in Tende, where a wealth of information can be found about the Mont Bego rock engravings, which date to around the time when Otzi the Iceman was traversing the Alps some way to the east. A little after our main period of interest, but Otzi and his era do get an honourable mention in our workshops, and these open air engravings are unique. Our next port of call was Bourgogne, where we paid a visit to the Grottes d'Arcy to see the Palaeolithic paintings at the far end of a wonderful limestone cavern full of natural concretions and features. A most entertaining and informative tour was offered at this site some distance from the better-known locations further south. Finally, to round off, a cycle trip along the Seine to the Musée Archéologie Nationale at Saint Germain-en-Laye near Paris, for their unrivalled collection of Palaeolithic portable art, including the beautiful Dame de Brassempouy, whom we finally encountered face to face. Somewhere in between we also had a holiday!

A summer excursion to Formby Point revealed more Mesolithic tracks in the ancient clay beds, including a group of deer, some canine (dog? wolf?) tracks, and a few more human prints including one huge one. A surprise find on a beach on the Lleyn Peninsula was more exposed clay beds, this time with fragments of ancient trees protruding. Not much information is available apart from the suggestion of an ancient forest from the Mesolithic period. It certainly wasn't a shipwreck. Such beach sites are more normally exposed by autumn and winter storms.

The replica artefact collection continues to evolve - Dave is currently working without a great deal of luck on trying to recreate sandstone oil lamps in the style of the famous Lascaux lamp. Definitely a case of learning from one's mistakes! He's had better luck with upgrading the harpoon from a single point to a trident (see photo), as many harpoon tips only have barbs on one side. In doing so, the purpose of the pointed lugs near the base of some central harpoon points may now be clearer - as supports for the outer points. Such is the nature of experimentation.

Our autumn holiday destination this year was Denmark, but not before we'd dropped in on the excellent Neanderthal Museum near Dusseldorf, situated in the river valley that gave its name to our evolutionary cousins. Denmark has huge amounts of flint lying around, everywhere, so we took advantage of this and piled a good few specimens into the back of our camper van for use back home. It's no coincidence that Denmark's 100 Kroner note features an ornate prehistoric flint dagger.

First stop in Denmark was the Stenaldercenter at Ertebolle, a village in Jutland that lends its name to a cultural group of Mesolithic coastal dwellers. We received a friendly welcome there and we learned some new things, including how to identify good and bad flint by tapping it, and how the unusually-shaped transverse arrowheads were made. We wish them well with the re-launch of their outdoor demonstration area following a grant of new funding. The Moesgaard Museum at Aarhus has some unique coastal dweller artefacts and displays, along with Graubelle Man, preserved in a peat bog since his untimely death in the Iron Age. Denmark's National Museum in Copenhagen has a wide range of unusual and intricate flint implements, along with a beautiful amber bear pendant, and bog bodies and related artefacts from later prehistory. An additional bonus was the exhibition of clothing and equipment from peoples who've lived in far northern latitudes, in a manner not dis-similar to the Ice Age. Dave also managed to pick up a Baltic amber necklace for a very reasonable sum on a market stall in Copenhagen, and has re-worked the beads into his Stone Age demonstration necklace.

The highlight for us was the Sagnlandet open air museum at Lejre, unusual for its particular focus on the Stone Age through to the Viking Age, rather than just the later periods more common to other such museums. We arrived at their Mesolithic lake settlement in time for a generously provided hot snack of items foraged by a school group under the capable leadership of their two Stone Age guides. Freshwater mussels - yum! The centre also has a herd of Heck Ox roaming free in a huge enclosure - these retro-bred animals are the closest anyone will get to seeing an Aurochs, and they're still a full third smaller than their prehistoric ancestors. Dave discovered that whistling can get their attention at a distance, and managed to take some photos of running oxen strangely reminiscent to the Lascaux cave paintings. He was certainly glad of the fence around their enclosure when they headed his way at speed. We also visited a couple of Viking ship sites (Ladby & Roskilde) which were most interesting, but they're far too late to describe on this website!

Also worthy of an honourable mention - on the journey home Dave visited the Archeologiemuseum in Bruges and was most impressed with their presentation of the Archaeologist's work in relation to the artefacts and finds on display there.

A quick September foray into Northern France for a flea market found us spending a spare afternoon at Samara, the archaeology and prehistory-themed visitor park near Amiens, where fire lighting with marcasite and flint was ably demonstrated to us, amongst other things.

In October Dave returned to the Backwoods Survival School near Glasgow for a buckskin hide tanning course, camping in woodland as the temperatures began to drop. What a messy, strenuous, time-consuming and demanding task that turned out to be, but at the same time an absolutely essential prehistoric skill. Thank you to Patrick McGlinchey for upping our game once more, and for sharing his specialist knowledge and experience.

 


10,000 Years BC 2017

During 2017 we've been running school workshops in new locations, having already made our first inroads into Birmingham and Staffordshire.

In February Dave returned to Formby Point, where he spotted some lines of prehistoric human footprints in the ancient clay beds that had been scoured clean by winter storm conditions (fourth photo, scale = 1 metre). Two sets made by adults, and another set made by a smaller person, possibly a child. Fortunately a pair of archaeological researchers were on hand nearby to record them before they disappeared.

During April we toured around France, visiting the caves at Cougnac and Rouffignac (again) and returned once more to France's National Museum of Prehistory. Along the way we purchased more resources and replicas, including four superb hunting darts from flint knapper Bernard Ginelli's Palaois workshop. We also accepted a very kind invitation from Pascal of Antiqua Perigord to stay at his home in the lovely rural Dordogne countryside, where we saw the workshop from which his excellent replica artefacts are sent to museums and sites all over France. They're also sent to us for distribution in English schools, and we have a new range in the pipeline for September. As the year progresses Dave is planning to make a second set of garments from Reindeer hide using replica stone age tools rather than their modern equivalents.

In early July, Dave became part of a tribe of ten outdoor and prehistory enthusiasts on Will Lord's and Patrick McGlinchey's five day Skills of the Coastal Hunter Gatherer course, based in a remote bay on Scotland's Cowal peninsula. He was introduced to a range of prehistoric survival skills including shoreline foraging, coracle building, basket making, cordage weaving, net making, fish skin tanning, harpoon making, and the all-important butchering of a carcass with flint tools. Fascinating stuff, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience that will help to enhance our offering in future classroom and training sessions.

In August and October Dave assisted Cheshire East's countryside ranger service with a prehistory-themed guided walk entitled 'Ice Age to iron Age' on Bickerton Hill, a prominent feature of Cheshire's Sandstone Ridge. It is hoped that these walks will be repeated next year. Dave also visited the Alderley Edge Copper Mine on a guided tour courtesy of The Derbyshire Caving Club, taking a close up look at where copper ore was extracted as far back as the early Bronze Age.

Our Autumn trip to Europe took us to the Urgeschichtliches Museum in Blaubeuren, in the heart of the Schwabian Alb region of Germany where some of the world's oldest portable art has been discovered in nearby limestone caverns. We were able to see not only the 'Schwabian Eve' carved figurine, but also the earliest known bone and ivory flutes, the diving waterbird carving (see photo), and the Little Lion Man, who is extremely little! The Museum's display of Palaeolithic artefacts and reconstructions was among the best we have visited so far - highly recommended. We also visited the Pfahlbauten lake village reconstruction on Bodensee, which, although a little later than our usual period of interest, is nevertheless a fascinating place to go to. A further trip to the Rosgarten Museum in Konstanz revealed more Stone Age finds, displayed in a manner that doesn't appear to have changed for about a century - an Edwardian antiquarian would have been well at home in their gallery.

During the late autumn we ran exhibitor's tables and practical sessions for delegates at both the Historical Association's Midland History Forum in Birmingham and the Northern History Forum in Leeds. Our mission to dispel popular myths about The Stone Age continues on all fronts!

 


10,000 Years BC 2016

In addition to running our school workshops in 2016, Chris has been running teacher training courses around the North West as part of her consultancy role, and Dave has been attending 'in character' as a surprise afternoon guest at those with a History theme! During Spring we had a guided tour of the prehistoric footprints that can be found on the beach at Formby Point. May's Historical Association Conference at Harrogate was a first for us - we ran two delegate sessions on Primary School Prehistory. In June Dave spent a day receiving one-to-one flint knapping tuition from expert tutor Will Lord, in Suffolk, which provided some fascinating insights into the technical sophistication of our ancient ancestors. We also took the opportunity to visit Ipswich Museum and see one of John Frere's early hand axe finds (top photo), along with other prehistoric artefacts.

Another artefact of note that we saw in June was the decorated Kendrick's Cave Horse Jaw (second photo) which was on display at Llandudno Museum until August. July found us gazing in awe at Creswell Crags' unique Palaeolithic cave art inside the Church Hole Cave on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border.

Our autumn trip to Europe included a visit to the brand new Caverne Pont d'Arc reconstruction (third photo) of the Chauvet Cave in France's Ardeche region, where some of Europe's earliest known cave art was discovered.

We also paid our respects to Ötzi the Iceman in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology at Bolzano in northern Italy, on our way through to Austria, where we found ourselves face to face with The Willendorf Venus in Vienna's Natural History Museum. Along the way we picked up more materials for our handling collection, including amber, obsidian, and some generously proportioned red deer antlers. Quite a trip all told.

We rounded off 2016 by offering two practical workshops at the SHP Inspiring Primary History conference at The British Museum. Apart from meeting (and hopefully enthusing) more teachers it also gave Dave the chance to pop upstairs and peruse the European Prehistory gallery.

 


Palaeofacts: Did you know the prefix 'Palaeo-' means 'older' or 'ancient', so it is used to describe the study of dinosaur and fossil remains (Palaeontology). In the context of the Stone Age, 'Palaeolithic' defines the earliest period of stone (lithic) tool use, or 'Old' Stone Age. The later periods were the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) and and the Neolithic (New Stone Age). The terms Palaeolithic and Neolithic were first coined in 1865 by John Lubbock, in his influential archaeology text  "Pre-historic times, as illustrated by ancient remains, and the manners and customs of modern savages".
Winter backdrop image reproduced by kind permission of laughingmackerel.
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