This year I am not away in the field for Day of Archaeology – I am at home – packing my bags!!
With so much of the world’s heritage being destroyed through accidents, deliberate destruction, and even war, I feel it is important that we engage the youth of the world in the importance of history and archaeology, in order to protect its future.
So much valuable time is spent on technology and this is a great way to spread the word of protecting our past. However, we also need to encourage people to get outside and to actively become members and ambassadors of organizations that protect our heritage and for youngsters in the UK this would be through the Council of British Archaeology and their YAC! programme (The Young Archaeologist Club).
Racking my brains and figuring out how best to encourage the younger generation to become involved, I designed a Young Archaeologist Kit which includes everything a Young Archaeologist will need to understand some of the processes used by professionals.
The kit does not encourage youngsters to go dig up their local park. It comes with a parents instruction booklet on how to plan and undertake a dig in their own back yard. It also has a booklet on what all of the tools included are used for, how to use them, plus a glossary at the end.
To assist youngsters in understanding the world of archaeology I have also created a blog called The Young Archaeologist, where each week a new question is answered, an archaeological find is looked at and we visit a site from around the world. There are so many amazing and incredible sites that are unique, amazing, and that people need to know about.
Getting involved locally, and nationally where possible, is a valuable aspect of promoting the future of our heritage. History being taught at school is just the beginning. A seed can be planted in young minds that encourages them to find out more about their local history, and to visit their museum or library to undertake further research; to understand the importance of such institutions and what they can offer a community, and why we need to make sure they continue to operate.
To be able to physically see artefacts that come from their village or town, and understand the meaning they represent in understanding the past is of huge importance. The sharing of ideas centered around local history and being able to take part in re-enactment societies gives a much greater understanding of the past as well as sharing valuable knowledge and ideas.
To learn about and to interact with the past through archaeology and history is like travelling back in time. Discovering how our ancestors lived, loved, worked, played and existed in a world so very much different than it is today. Encouraging youth to become part of this exciting adventure can open up their imaginations and finding ways on how to better protect our past so it does indeed have a future!