Poo from the Past: A Week of Archaeology Themed Fun at the Oak House Museum

By Rebecca Butler

Visitor Service Officer, Oak House, Sandwell Museum Service

To fit in with this years ‘Day of Archaeology’ staff at Oak House Museum in West Bromwich, decided to put on a week of activities all with an archaeology theme.

We set up an excavation next to our shipwreck playground. Children were given the opportunity to dig around the excavation site to find coins, pottery sherds and even bits of flint! Once they had their finds they took them to the ‘finds washing station’, gave them a good clean and then discussed what they had found with staff to decide which finds tray they belonged in dependent upon the object, its size and the material it was made out of.

After this, they were told that the Oak House staff had discovered a latrine full of coprolites, and they needed help with post-excavation analysis. Using special tools children carefully excavated the coprolites and recorded their finds on finds sheets. They then looked at the ‘Poos from the Past’ fact sheets in order to determine if they had discovered Roman persons Poo or a Tudor Persons Poo. It gave staff an opportunity to talk about diet and the different food people ate.

We also gave a tour of our site with a focus on standing building archaeology. This was well received by parents and children.

Both children and their parents had lots of fun and we received lots of good feedback from parents on the day. Overall it was a successful week of Archaeology at The Oak House Museum. For more information about our up-coming events visit our website www.sandwell.gov.uk/joininmuseums.