jersey classroom

Since September 2014, Key Stage 2 history includes the changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. Although this vast period covers the majority of human time on earth, primary prehistoric education has traditionally only focused on the Egyptians, Aztecs and the Romans first arriving in Britain in  August, 55 BC. Changes in the history curriculum present new challenges to primary schools who may be looking for guidance and inspiration on how to teach this little understood period, covering an enormous span of time with minimal evidence left behind. Without specialist knowledge and the aid carefully selected materials and artefacts, prehistory gives rise to many difficult questions, such as:.

  • What did they eat ?
  • How was their food prepared ?
  • What were clothes made from ?
  • How did tools change through time ?
  • What their homes like ?
  • How people organise themselves ?
  • What religion and rituals did they follow ?
  • How did people express and defend themselves ?
  • What were the important innovations ?

Government expectations are that Key Stages 2 pupils learn the essential chronology of Britain's prehistory, including different elements and trends over time; such as cultural, economic, technical, military, political, religious and social history. Children should be taught about significant individuals and given the opportunity to study local history, with an aim to ensure students develop a historical perspective, placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, with understanding of connections and contrasts. Interactive stories play an important role and there is an emphasis on teaching skills and knowledge within coherent and meaningful narratives.

To help Primary Teachers provide innovative and exciting lessons that inspire children to learn more about the past, Ancientcraft has developed a series of unique living history presentations. These help show the clear transitional distinctions from the use of crude stone tools, to the early use of base metals and from small nomadic hunting-gathering clans moving around a sparsely-occupied country and wholly dependent upon the environment around them, to sedentary farming practices that changed the land for cultivation and  lead to the development of sophisticated cultures, with people who were able to create beautiful artwork, complex trading routes and religion. Each presentation can be used to bring your history lessons to life. Replica clothing, authentic artefacts, skills demonstrations and even dwellings can be displayed on your school premises (indoor or outdoor) and supported by the latest archaeological evidence, but specially delivered for the younger audience.

Archaeology is fundamentally about people, communities and their every day lives - seeing the manufacture of flint tools, sitting inside a deer-skin hut, handling bronze tools, grinding flour in a quern stone or wearing ancient-styled clothing or armour will stay with children longer than readings from any text book alone.

10 reasons to choose Ancientcraft:

  1. Founded in 2009, Ancientcraft specialises exclusively in prehistory
  2. With over ten years practical experience and over five years public outreach
  3. Unique combination of current academic knowledge and prehistoric practical skills
  4. First-hand knowledge of many European prehistoric archaeological sites
  5. Ancientcraft work exhibited in many national museum / heritage centre displays, handling kits and private collections
  6. Extensive range of clients, including national institutes (BBC; Time Team; English Heritage; National Geographic; Historic Environment Service of the Welsh Government (CADW); Channel Four) and many schools, museums, heritage centres and children's clubs
  7. On-going Archaeology research (Masters Degree) from one of the leading centres for the study of prehistoric archaeology in Europe - Southampton University
  8. Authentic and replica prehistoric artefacts to display and handle (most replica items made by Ancientcraft)
  9. CRB checked, Insured and First Aid trained
  10. @AncientcraftUK provides a daily twitter-feed of all the very latest prehistoric news

How a Prehistoric session could work at your School:

Younger Ancientcraft Clients:

ancientcraft clients


"This is just to say thank you very much for the fantastic introduction to The Stone Age which our classes received today. We could not have asked for more! The children loved the explanations of how spears developed to become more effective weapons for hunting. The artefacts you brought with you had all the adults and children watching utterly captivated. Everyone wanted to touch the furs, antlers, bow, headdress etc.  The flint knapping was fascinating and brought home the skills which ancient peoples needed to survive. Similarly, we were all amazed at the deft use of sticks to create fire. We can honestly say that our Year Three classes are brimming with enthusiasm about their Stone Age topic. Testament to this was the children’s spontaneous role play during break time when they re-enacted all the things that they had been learning from you; making tools and weapons, crawling into shelters, hunting, drumming and making fire. A great day!"

Broomgrove Junior School

"The pupils enjoyed the Stone Age workshop.  It let them visualise what life was like during the Stone Age period.  They enjoyed seeing a range of artefacts."

Holymead Primary School

"Thanks again for coming all the way up last week the children thoroughly enjoyed it and remember so much because they actually got to see it, not just in pictures / books. Helped me too as I was not sure where to start with this area of history."

Victoria Park Primary Academy

"James provided an inspirational introduction to our History Week. The resources and artefacts he brought grabbed the student's interest and enthusiasm and brought this period of history alive for everyone - pupils and staff. James catered for all the learning needs and styles of our students, quite a difficult feat as we are a small special school with students from aged 3-19. We would whole-heartedly recommend James as an amazing and fantastic way to support learning in this History topic."

The Coppice School



"I'd like to thank you again for travelling all that way to run the session for Canterbury YAC.  The YACs really enjoyed it, and you presented the session in a fun and informative way. It was great to see the various tools being knapped from scratch, which I think gave the YACs a better understanding of how flint tools are made. We were all impressed by your initiative to set up your Ancient Crafts company, and wish you all the best in the future."

Canterbury YACs Branch

"Many thanks for showing our YAC's (and leaders) how to make flint tools, we all really enjoyed the day and many of the members are hooked now on flint knapping. I'm sure the day will stay with them for a long time. You pitched the teaching at just the right level and showed our young people how to make their own tools in ways they understood. Thank you very much and we look forward to having another session in the summer for the YAC members who missed out this time"

Bury St. Edmunds YACs Branch

"James came to the Bexley YAC. He was extremely knowledgeable and excellent with the children. He set out a lovely display of furs and tools and talked to the children before they started knapping.He was extremely patient and the children all thoroughly enjoyed the session, everyone took away a knapped piece of flint which resembled a tool. Excellent value for money and would recommend him to other groups and schools."

Bexley YACs Branch



Stone Age teachers

>> Some ideas if your class (or teacher) wants to dress up for the day <<

Living History sessions can be incorporated into wider educational themes for different age groups:

  • Science - evolution from early hominids to modern man; turning ore into metal tools; selecting, group and using natural materials
  • History - what living in the ancient past was like
  • Geography / Geology - habitats; archaeological sites; mining (stone and metal ores)
  • Environmental studies - native animals and plants during prehistory; ancient bushcraft; survival skills
  • Art / Design - pigments; cave paintings; venus figurines; symbols
  • Literacy - early forms of writing; stories from the past
  • Religious Studies / Citizenship - belief systems; shamanism; burial practices; family clans and communities
  • ICT - access to online information (labeling & classifying) and activities

What I will need:

  • Access:
    • Full postal address of location
    • Full vehicle access to the location for unloading & loading (as flint nodules are very heavy)
    • Onsite parking (with details of any vehicle height restrictions)
  • Location Area:
    • I will need an area of no less than 6 - 8 square metres for a full living history
    • The demo location should be as close as practical to the onsite parking and access should NOT require the use of stairs (as flint nodules and equipment is very heavy)
    • Once set up, it will NOT be possible to relocate or temporarily dismantle the display (eg to allow the space to be used for another activity such as lunch)
    • Seating for myself & the audience
  • Time:
    • Agreed start and end time
    • For the Prehistoric School demo, I will need between 30-90 minutes preparation/set-up time and around the same to vacate the location
    • NOTE - preparation time will not be counted against agreed demo duration
  • Special Attention:
    • Replica ancient items will be on display, including real animal parts in prehistoric context (e.g. teeth; bones; hides; bird wings) - these are for educational purposes only and are not intended to offend or distress the audience. If you feel these are not appropriate or are concerned about allergies, please discuss during booking.
    • The Prehistoric Shaman demonstration is an interpretation of evidence-based archaeology - it should not be considered as formal musical training or lessons, or be confused with spiritualism or faith healing sessions
    • All demonstrations that involve "fire" inside (see image below) use an electric flame-effect light that generates minimal heat and no fumes, so can be used safely

Ancientcraft School demo

Risk Assessment:

  • I can provide a sample RISK ASSESSMENT form for use >> Click Here
  • I am CRB checked, First Aid trained and insured for £1M product & public liability
  • Craft demonstration and workshops must be discussed during booking
  • Flintknapping Demonstration:
    • Safety glasses will be provided for the audience less that 3m away from the flintknapping activity
    • During demonstrations the audience will not be invited to participate in flintknapping due to the safety aspects of the craft. If you do wish to try flintknapping during a demo session, it must be discussed during booking or as part of a pre-arranged workshop
    • All flintknapping will be performed on a large tarpaulin, so that any flint fakes will be quickly removed from the location once the session is complete and disposed of correctly
  • It is your responsibility to:
    • Ensure sufficient adult-child ratio
    • Provide additional trained first aiders (as required by your event)
    • Have details of the nearest A&E hospital (as required by your event)
    • Comply with any HSE checks/restrictions (as required by your event)

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