BBC Hands on History
February 2011 saw Keystone take to the road with BBC Hands on History’s ‘Ancients’ events. This whistle-stop tour of Britain took the team to meet the half-term shoppers in five different cities over five days. The crowd stopper was the 5m inflatable Stonehenge trilithon beneath which our ‘experimental archaeologist’ actors engaged with the public to try to elicit ideas on how the huge stones were lifted into place without the help of any modern day engineering or machinery.
The public also learnt how the stones would have been transported by helping our archaeologists move a life-sized polystyrene lintel with ropes and logs. Information about local ancient British sites was handed out as well as timelines of the historical period. We also handed out Hands on History ‘Old stuff rocks’ badges – which were just as popular with the parents and grand-parents as they were with the kids!
Salisbury museum kindly lent us some 4000 year old artefacts from the Stonehenge site for the public to learn about and handle; these were also a real success allowing people to be transported back in time by engaging with the tools that their ancient ancestors would have used. The event space was enclosed by 2m x 1m interpretation boards designed to look like animal skins stretched taut on wooden frames. These boards were packed with information about life in ancient Britain and designed to be thought provoking and fun.
The feedback that we received from the public was extremely positive; it was seen as an effective way to engage kids and adults in our ancient British heritage whilst also being lively and fun.