Hartlepool youngsters dig deep into school’s history during archaeology project

High Tunstall College of Science pupils dig in.
High Tunstall College of Science pupils dig in.
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Youngsters dug deep for buried treasure in their Hartlepool school grounds.

The pupils at High Tunstall College of Science got to join an archaeological dig on site.

Digger on site.

Digger on site.

The unique opportunity arose as part of the surveys being conducted on the college grounds in readiness for the new school building to be constructed.

It was a rare treat for one GCSE history class to be invited to join the archaeological dig conducted by the Archaeological Services team from Durham University.

The archaeologists explained to students how, from using a wide range of new technologies, the maps of the site had been generated and imaging had indicated where trenches should be positioned to check if there were any archaeological finds to be had.

Despite very wet weather the students were enthused to have the opportunity to watch the ground being removed from trench one and two and see bottles dating to the 1920s and old school ink pots appear from the ground under the sports field.

It was great to have the young people involved and learning about archaeology

Mark Tilling

Mark Tilling, headteacher at the school, said: “It is great to have the young people involved and learning about archaeology and they found some fascinating finds.”

Four of the students were keen to become even more actively involved and the archaeologists fully involved them in completing the test pit, recording forms and using GPS to plot the mapped trench ready for the digger to remove the layers of soil and check for artefacts.

Mr Tilling said it was a little disappointing to find the school land had previously been a rubbish tip and not a Roman Fort or Saxon Village.

The class followed up on their involvement in the archaeological dig by then spending a history lesson in science labs cleaning the debris from their finds and identifying what each was, after lots of predictions at the dig of what they could be.

Some of the treasure find.

Some of the treasure find.

The young people even took on the challenge of trying to date the items.

A spokesman for the college said: “Not only was it a great opportunity to explore archaeology on High Tunstall College of Science grounds, but the students have now ensured an insight of the history of High Tunstall is preserved to feature as a showpiece in the new building.”

A tray full of treasures.

A tray full of treasures.