In March 2008 the Community Archaeologist worked with the charity Learning through Landscapes, which aims to help schools and community groups appreciate their open spaces. Several schools in the Leatherhead area were part of a Learning through Landscape project to make more out of under-used areas of their school grounds, using the theme of local history. The schools were challenged to do this by creating a unique piece of artwork to inspire learning and creative play. Two local schools, West Ashtead Primary School and St. Peter's Primary School chose archaeology as their subject, and in particular the site of West Ashtead Roman Villa to provide inspiration.
Following an introductory workshop in school, the Community Archaeologist led a field trip to the site of West Ashtead Roman Villa, located on Ashtead Common. The site is currently being excavated by the Surrey Archaeological Society. The pupils certainly had to use their imagination on site. The visits took place in March - seven months after the archaeologists had backfilled their trenches! Pupils were provided with a plan of the villa as it had been drawn from excavations done in the 1920s. They were able to locate the GPS markers to orient themselves, the trenches were still visible, and even a few pieces of old tile on the spoil heaps were found.
Whilst on site the pupils worked with the artist who would be helping to create their pieces: a mosaicist with West Ashtead Primary School, and an ironmonger with St. Peter's. Back in the classroom the site drawings were turned into a mosaic design and a clock.
Learning through Landscapes provided the funding for a Teacher's Research Back Pack to be written and designed by the Community Archaeologist. Two back-packs are now on-site with the Ashtead Common Rangers for use by groups visiting the site. Each backpack contains the resource pack, with a site plan, list of activities and contacts, and a box of finds.
For more information about how to get involved in this or other projects in Surrey please contact the Community Archaeologist on tel: 01483 518737 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org