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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 a KS2 learning support package that includes authentic materials and replica artefacts, implements and garments of the period.


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Our Artefact loan box and video learning support unit scheme has evolved from the 300+ live KS2 Archaeology and Stone Age Workshops that we ran in over 120 different primary schools in north west England (and beyond) during 2014-2020. We have worked with around 10,000 children.

Our live primary school workshops involved artefact handling and recording, evidence-based investigation and costumed role play.

The scheme is firmly rooted in tried and tested classroom practice and has its foundations in our many years' experience of full-time teaching in both primary and secondary schools. Whilst Dave has now retired from running workshops after nearly 40 years spent working in the classroom, we remain actively involved in landscape archaeology, heritage education, KS2 teacher training, consultancy and curriculum design at local, regional and national levels.

We focus on the late Palaeolithic period (the 'Old Stone Age') before the arrival of fixed settlements, metals and farming. During this time our ancestors were nomadic hunter-gatherers who dressed in well-made animal skin garments and used carefully-crafted implements made of stone, wood, antler and bone. They successfully adapted to survival in glacial, inter-glacial and sub-glacial environments and lived in temporary encampments, rock shelters and caves. Stunning examples of their cave art and sculptures provide us with tantalising glimpses into a world very different to our own - a world that we can share with you.

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 for contrasting with our ancestors' lifestyles in later periods. The Palaeolithic represents 99.5% of humankind's journey since the first use of stone tools, so it shouldn't be overlooked, and we mustn't simply start with Neolithic Skara Brae and Stonehenge, as fascinating as they are.

Whilst outdoor bushcraft type activities were not a direct part of our original workshop, Dave has undertaken a number of related training courses including flint knapping, stone age survival, foraging, hide-tanning, basket-making, coracle building and prehistoric roundhouse construction in recent years. We reference many of the related tools, techniques and materials, thus providing a firm prehistoric context for any forest school or outdoor activities you may be planning.

The learning activities and artefact investigations can take place in the children's own classroom, with the loan box contents available for a full week, and the video units available for longer. A number of the video units can also be viewed at home via our YouTube channel. Thus, whilst off site visits can of course have their value, we offer a flexible low cost museum-type alternative without time-consuming school trip administration and risk assessment preparation, travel time, and any additional transport or staffing costs.



Live KS2 Archaeology & Stone Age Workshop feedback received from schools (2014-20):

(Our workshop videos are closely based upon the activities and content of these live sessions.)

"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." Y3 teacher, Cheshire


hunting and gathering
Where we've been and what we've seen
since 2015



This winter's hazel coppicing efforts moved to a different part of Marbury Park, with a view to establishing a 6-7 year rotation that will ensure a ready supply of suitable materials for hurdle and wattle fencing projects. Dave also completed a decorative screen for a new bird hide in the park, built entirely by local volunteers. Maintenance work around the Beeston Castle roundhouse has continued, including constructing a daub testing frame and a large temporary work shelter with a frame of hazel rods and pegs. A replica loom is well underway, and other accessories for the site. Plans are in place for a more permanent work and storage shelter - fingers crossed.

The artefact loan box scheme remains active, and some of our prices have been reduced for the 2023-24 school year to help schools deal with budgetary restrictions and rising running costs. Full details can be found on our homepage.

Branching further into English Heritage volunteering, Dave helped to clear up the overgrown ramparts of Oswestry Old Hillfort in February, and has completed some work at the newly re-opened Chester Castle, including a demonstration of hurdle fence making at a Medieval themed event there in June, briefly captured for posterity in a Facebook video. Chris and Dave also visited the Mitchell's Fold stone circle on the Shropshire/Wales border for a day out in February.

Our spring travels took us to Ireland for the first time - a month's circular tour of both the Republic and Northern Ireland, beginning and ending in Dublin. Along the way we visited the Irish National Heritage Centre at Wexford with its splendid array of early building reconstructions. Other prehistoric sites included the Carrowmore barrow cemetery and the spectacular Newgrange passage tomb at Brú na Bóinne near Drogheda, with its solstice aligned central chamber and its eye catching frontage of white quartz. A historic site that we found particularly atmospheric and poignant was the Slievemore deserted village on Achill Island which was steadily abandoned in the wake of the 19th century Potato Famine.

Planned (and unplanned) home refurbishments have occupied most of the summer months, but Dave still found time for a few days' hiking along the Northumberland coast in August, punctuated with visits to exposed fossil beds and to historic and prehistoric sites. The latter included a steep scramble through summer bracken up to Goatscrag, one of the few UK sites with figurative rock art, the Duddo stone circle and the nearby Routin Linn cup and ring marked stone slab. Other ancient sites of North East England await a return visit - it's a fascinating place to explore.

Our September trip into Europe had a distinct lakes and rivers theme, with us travelling through six different countries. In Switzerland two museums with prehistoric content caught our eye - the Latenium at Neuchâtel, displaying finds from the La Tène Bronze Age lake village site and reconstructions of the related buildings. Schaffhausen is more readily associated with the spectacular Rheinfall (Europe's biggest waterfall), but its lesser known Museum zu Allerheiligen also has an nicely presented prehistory section, including two examples of portable prehistoric art that were later found to be faked(!)



The year began with Dave and a small group of Beeston Castle maintenance volunteers coppicing a plot of hazel in Marbury Park to supply Beeston with materials for its Bronze Age roundhouse maintenance programme. Two trailer loads and a van load of hazel were taken to Beeston, where other volunteers helped to carry the wood bundles up the hill to the roundhouse compound - no small effort. Four wall panels needed removing, rebuilding, and re-daubing, and one of the windows was redesigned in the process. Experimental archaeology in action! Coppiced hazel takes about 6-7 years to regrow to a size where it can be used again for hurdle and wattle fencing. Some of the clumps we cut to ground level in January have already regrown to 6ft tall and more.

The artefact loan box and video support service for primary schools continues, with a number of new clients around the NW region sampling our wares, alongside our well-established clients who keep coming back for more. In September we trialled a one month half price loan scheme which appealed to enough schools for us to consider offering it again next year. In the light of likely school budget cuts we will be reviewing our pricing structure for 2023-24.

Our April holiday trip took us to Scotland, specifically Argyll & Bute, and a return to the lovely Isle of Mull. The numerous prehistoric sites around Kilmartin Glen kept us active, including standing stones, burial mounds, and the mysterious cup & ring marked stone slabs. However it's not just about the Stone Age, and we were equally enchanted with other historic sites, the wildlife and coastal scenery especially on Iona.

On a short trip to Anglesey in late May we explored the Iron Age hut circles near South Stack, and made a return visit to the Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber, where our 10,000 Years BC journey first began. Back in 2014 Dave visited a prehistory exhibition at the site and made initial contact with course providers and specialists who would later guide him along the way to our workshops and replica artefacts. It all seems a long time ago now, and worth every minute.

September was spent once again (at last) in France after an unwanted 3 year absence. We gave prehistory a break on this trip and focussed on more up to date technology in the shape of our new e-bikes, exploring the west coast islands of Noirmoutier, Oleron, and Re, which have been firm favourites for some time now. it was good to be back, and the peddling was a doddle. We took time to wander around the various Vauban forts beside the coast, and made our third visit to Parc Puy du Fou, which is more about entertainment than historical accuracy but it kept us amused, and their evening spectacles are truly spectacular.

As the year draws to an end the Friday school delivery and collection trips provide Dave with a chance to catch up on In Our Time podcasts as he traverses the region with loan boxes, and the hazel coppicing cycle begins once more..



Whilst our 'Plan B' went according to plan in the previous Autumn term, school closures in the Spring term of 2021 resulted in cancellation of all but two loan box bookings. We don't normally expect Summer term bookings, as most schools cover the Stone Age topic earlier in the year. In response we offered 'Plan C' in the shape of an updated resources page for schools and parents, with links to a small selection of free video units on our newly-established YouTube channel and for free download via TES. Hopefully it helped - not ideal, but better than nothing in difficult times.

Over winter Dave went out cutting hazel rods from a woodland allotment near to home, and has since been using them to construct hurdle fencing in the Bronze Age roundhouse compound at Beeston Castle. The task of carrying the bundles of wood halfway up Beeston crag on foot proved a useful source of exercise, as did making the fences themselves. He has also constructed a number of educational artefacts for the roundhouse, including a yew bow, a flint and birch scythe, a willow fish trap and large storage box made out of (guess what) woven hazel. The castle has provided further historic opportunities for Dave in the shape of an investigation into the legends surrounding its medieval well. No small amount of time has been spent researching that subject online, along with finally tackling the complexities of the Trevor family history.

Chris has remained busy with her consultancy, curriculum design and training work thanks to Zoom, and celebrated being awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Historical Association for her dedicated work with them over recent years, including flying the flag for KS2 on their Primary Committee.

After close to 40 years of classroom working in various roles since first qualifying as a teacher in 1982, Dave has taken the decision to retire from the classroom and to focus on other ways of engaging people's interest in the past. Never an easy decision, but one that would have come anyway around this time, regardless of recent events. Most teachers leave the profession by their early 60s, if not before, and move on to other things. The pandemic has simply deprived him of a year of running live workshops prior to inevitably stepping down. He still leaves the role with fond memories and deep gratitude for the opportunity to work in the way he has done between 2014 and 2020 - certainly no regrets.

In July Dave assisted with presenting a Festival of Archaeology event at Beeston Castle, aimed at members of the Young Archaeologist's Club. Co-organised by the Council for British Archaeology and English Heritage's Shout Out Loud project, they day consisted of a prehistoric tour of the castle site, followed by the highlight of Dr James Dilley supervising a flint knapping session, and demonstrating bronze casting at the Bronze Age roundhouse - the first time this has taken place at Beeston in around 3,000 years!

In August Dave undertook refresher training with Luke Winter as part of a team of ten English Heritage maintenance volunteers tasked with developing and looking after the Beeston roundhouse and its compound.

The artefact loan box and video support scheme, originally devised as a pandemic contingency, will become the main focus of what we do, and will continue to be offered for as long as it makes sense to.

In the meantime, other historical and prehistoric projects beckon..



It's fair to say that 2020 didn't quite turn 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 was, 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 were possible this year, so nothing new to report on that front.

The autumn term held only one certainty for 10,000 Years BC - that schools would not be working as normal. Reorganised class routines with limited opportunities for group work and shared artefact handling, and restrictions on visiting meant that we could not work in our usual manner, visiting different schools every day. Whilst it would have been easy to simply hang up the red deerskins and put the flint tools into storage until better times, we decided to keep trying to support children's learning, and to change our offering.

Consequently Dave spent 6 months from late March preparing the contents of 10 artefact loan boxes, and video recording and editing our workshop sessions and other new learning support materials. Fortunately our supplier in France had been working as normally as possible and we took delivery of a number of brand new replicas for use in the classroom. Dave applied his knowledge of our ancient past to create more replica Stone Age items. His more recent past as a Head of Media in a high school helped him to create numerous educational video clips, and to televise our entire workshop session. Our small front room doubled as a recording studio, complete with green screen, and a good few hours, days, and weeks were spent in the edit.

The scheme started on 2 October - the bookings for the Autumn term kept us busy when we needed it, and were sufficient enough for the initial production costs to be covered, as hoped for. It was understood from the start that any profit in this school year would be a bonus.

Another change of plan from September 2020 onwards - we limited 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.


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.

Bernard Ginelli
Bernard Ginelli

Adieu Bernard Ginelli, et Merci Beaucoup: On our visit to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in Dordogne we were saddened to hear that veteran flint knapper Bernard Ginelli had passed away in November 2018 following a short illness, aged 72. Most of our flint replica tools were crafted by Bernard in his Palaois workshop in the village, situated opposite the Abri Pataud rock shelter, and open since 1990. Bernard developed his craft, some might say art, with Dr Francois Bordes, the pre-eminent French archaeologist, and the quality and variety of his work was apparent in the many artefacts he displayed and sold in his workshop. Bernard was also highly skilled with the propulseur (spear thrower) - a true Stone Age man in so many respects! Bernard's replica artefacts have been studied and handled by well over 10,000 schoolchildren in the UK, and a considerable number of teachers, during our workshops and training courses since 2014. We can only hope that some of those children will choose to tread the same path into the past that Bernard Ginelli followed in his lifetime, and will go on to inspire others in the same way that he has done.

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".
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