Dr Koerner’s contention is that to understand current environmental problems, we need to appreciate how societies developed in the past – adapting to the conditions they found themselves in. This concept is at the heart of Dr Koerner’s Mapping Interfaces programme, which will run for the rest of the summer term at the academy.
After a welcome by Sonja Bernhardt from the university’s widening participation department and Dr Melanie Giles from the Department of Archaeology, the pupils were put through a carousel of activities investigating different artefacts.
First, they looked at flint hunting tools from the Palaeolithic period and began to comprehend how humans had to act as hunter-gatherers living a nomadic lifestyle always in search of food. Humans living in these times only had stone to make tools from and hunt with.
The second artefact was a pestle and mortar from the Neolithic period. The early Stone Age pounding tools showed that people had started to live in settled communities. They could grow crops such as wheat and turn them into flour which could be stored or traded. This ability to store and trade foodstuffs allowed communities to develop and grow permanent settlements in one place.
The third workshop investigated ancient seals, which gave an insight into how societies were beginning to become structured with elites at the top, dictating how people lived their lives.
Through investigating the objects the pupils gained an insight into the ancient world and how the interpreting artefacts can tell a story of how people lived, adapted and survived.
Professor Julian Thomas, expert in Neolithic and Bronze Age prehistory of Britain and Europe dropped in to the workshop to see what the pupils were working on and updated them on his own research.
Student ambassadors who were working with the Manchester Academy pupils all morning shared their enthusiasm for archaeology and talked about their degree studies. A campus tour and visit to the Manchester Museum concluded the day’s activities.
Feedback from the pupils was very positive with the majority saying they hoped to go on to university.