Leicestershire YAC has had a great start to 2017. In February, at our first session of the year, we met at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History to learn about Pottery Illustration. Drawing artefacts, like the fragments of pottery found on archaeological digs, is really important because it encourages us to look closely at what we have found – what shape is it? What decoration does it have? What is it made of? This allows us to then ask what was it once used for? How was it used? And when was it made?
First, to test our skills of observation, we each picked a potato from a bag and had a go at drawing it. We had to carefully observe all the spots and blemishes on it, measure it, and draw it from several different angles. We had to think carefully about what made our potato unique because once we were finished it went back in the bag, and at the end of the session we had to be able to pick it out again, from amongst all the other potatoes, based on our observations. This taught us about the need for being accurate when drawing artefacts.
Then, we had a go at drawing some Roman pottery from the School’s ceramic collection. Choosing sherds of pot, we used a rim chart to begin reconstructing what the pot once looked like. We work out the diameter of the pot and how tall it was, and drew a cross-section across it to show what it looked like on the inside and the outside, and how thick the sides were.
If you want to have another go at what we did, or weren’t able to make it to the session and want to have a go, you can find the instructions here:
Money, money, money!
In March we visited Harborough Museum in Market Harborough to learn about the Iron Age Hallaton Treasure Hoard. Wendy Scott from the Portable Antiquities Scheme showed us some of the Iron Age and Roman coins found in the hoard, and we put on gloves and handled some of the coins. We learnt about the different symbols and names on the coins, and compared the Roman and Iron Age coins to see how they differed. We then explored the museum gallery, dressed up as Iron Age people, tried on Roman helmets and had a go at striking our own Iron Age coins!
We also discussed the importance of reporting finds, so they can be recorded, and the problems illegal metal detecting cause.
Wendy finally challenged us to design our own coin. If you want to have a go, draw around a plate on a piece of paper and fill the circle with your coin design. Bring it along to our next session in April and we will take pictures of them to send to Wendy to put up on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website.
If you want to learn more about the heritage of your area, or want to report something you have found visit the Portable Antiquities Scheme website https://finds.org.uk
Alternately, if you want to know more about historic sites or buildings near you, you can search the Historic Environment Record at www.heritagegaeway.org.uk