Fulham - Archaeological Dig

Our Week in the Forest... 

What a lovely holiday camp week we have had in the forest. It has been so great to welcome back some familiar faces alongside our regular children. Old friendships have been rekindled and new ones made, and together they have been making so many discoveries along the way.
On our walk to base camp at the beginning of the week we came upon an archaeological dig at Fulham Palace. The children were fascinated and asked them if they were building a house. The archaeologists explained that they weren’t building a house, they were digging to try and uncover some Roman coins. The children asked if they had found any but the archaeologists said they had only just started so maybe we could check back later in the week to see what they had found. As we headed off to basecamp for snack the children excitedly talked about what the archaeologists might find during their digging. After snack, the children went off to play and imagine the excitement in camp when two of the children found their own artefact buried in the mud kitchen!
Carefully using paintbrushes, just like the archaeologists, some of the children started to dust the mud off of the intriguing looking object buried in the ground, whilst some others went with an educator to tell the archaeologists they had found something. One of the archaeologists was very excited and came back with them to look. He used his special trowel to gently dig up the artefact and he took it to show his colleagues, inviting the children to stop by later and they would see if they could find out what it was. Later in the afternoon the children went to visit the archaeologists again and we found out that the artefact they found was a flowerbed edging that could be as old as 100 years.

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The excitement of finding some real archaeology has inspired lots of digging this week and also discussions about how we can protect our trees and forest from damage. We talked about where we can dig so as not to damage tree roots, and following a third visit to the archaeologists later in the week, talk turned to recycling. One of the archaeologists showed the children an ice lolly wrapper they had found in the trench they were digging. It was made of plastic and was from the 1970’s but was still in perfect condition, if not a little muddy. The educators were very impressed with the children’s knowledge and understanding and one child suggested the archaeologist recycled his lolly wrapper because, “it’s not kind to the Earth”.  
Back at base camp, play turned to hunting for things again, but this time it was bugs. Children made their own checklist of insects they wanted to find which included slugs, spiders, ladybirds, worms, centipedes and woodlice. After the lists were complete they set off with an educator to look for the insects and tick them off on their list. During afternoon snack, we talked about what creepy crawlies the children had found. With discussions of slugs and spiders, talk soon turned to Halloween and some children shared with the group what they were going to dress up as for Halloween parties they were going to. There were several witches, a skeleton, a pirate ghost and a pumpkin! One of the educators reminded the children that there are lots of pumpkins growing in the walled garden at Fulham Palace. It was quickly decided that after snack we would go on adventure in search of pumpkins. The children were not disappointed! In the greenhouse, there was a huge display of all different types of pumpkins and squash to observe, providing plenty of debate about which was the biggest, smallest and roundest!

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Little Forest Folk