Primary History 66 from the Historical Association

PH_66_cover_295There is some great info about teaching Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to Iron Age in the latest Primary History Journal from the Historical Association. A PDF can be downloaded free.

There is minor confusion over when teachers are expected to start in the Stone Age, with one writer suggesting after the end of the last Ice Age, 10,000 BC. Here at Schools Prehistory we hope teachers will be looking back a million years for the earliest human habitation of what we now call Britain.

We did learn a lot about what teachers may be worried about, things that we hadn’t thought of. What if there are stereotypes of primitive humans grunting at each other? Laughter at people not having metal or electricity or cars? Well, most people in the past in other periods didn’t have those things either, so we’re sure teachers have got ways to explain that people in the past weren’t stupid.

We also learned that teachers are expected to give an overview and then focus in on a particular topic, possibly in their local area. This is a great idea, and we’ve got lots of advice on how to do that

One of the things we’ve become increasingly aware of, is that archaeology is not being mentioned perhaps as much as it should be. It is through archaeology that we know so much about the prehistoric past. And archaeology isn’t all artefacts. We hope that archaeological archives, e.g. site plans, can start to be used as secondary sources alongside the artefact as primary source.

The possible enquiry questions were really interesting – which was better to make and use, bronze or iron? When was it better to live, Stone, Bronze or Iron Age? It reminded us that teachers and pupils may well be asking questions that archaeologists haven’t thought about. We should keep the conversation going.