Pupils at Gatehouse of Fleet Primary School are currently in the middle of doing a project on Gatehouse in the Dark Ages, part of an HLF funded project led by the Gatehouse Development Initiative. The school resource pack created for the Galloway Picts Project forms the basis for this project, but which has been expanded to include elements of artistic and literary creativity.
As part of this the children visited Trusty’s Hill at the beginning of last week. They were very excited to see a figure standing on the hill above and couldn’t believe he was real. When they reached the summit of the hill they discovered he was Androth Siggursson, a Bernician from Northumbria, whose grandfather had burnt the fort!
He talked about the different roles woman, children and men had at the fort, the structure of society in the Dark Ages and a typical day in the life of a young boy/girl. He also told them about what he was wearing , ‘translating’ the cost into modern day items (his sword = BMW car for instance), which the pupils were fascinated by, and linking his clothes with the making of cloth, leatherwork, metal working and trade.
This proved to be a great way of provoking lots of questions from the children about life on Trusty’s Hill all those centuries ago.
With the help of a local writer, the children also started working on short poems based on the different roles people may have had at Trusty’s Hill. Already there is the start of some good poems using the information the children got on the hill about life in this Dark Age stronghold.
The school followed up the visit on Monday with another session with the writer on Thursday, learning how to edit their poems, and playing the ‘rubbish game’ to look at and talk about the finds we made at Trusty’s Hill last year.
Perhaps the highlight of Thursday afternoon was an oral storytelling exercise where the children created a saga/story about living at Trusty’s Hill. They really got into this – what started as a large circle of them on the floor got smaller and smaller as the story kept going around and getting more exciting and they kept edging closer and closer together. They used lots of the information they had gathered at the site on Monday and earlier in the afternoon for the story.
I wish I had done things like this when I was at school!