Fantastic Day! Children learned so much and it was great that they had the chance to ask lots of questions. You have a huge wealth of knowledge and it is great to see the artefacts which really bring the topic to life. Thank You! South Marston School.


This can be just a single workshop or it can turn into a WOW day with three workshops and advice on a Saxon/Viking lunch!

1)Investigation of Everyday Life

An array of replica clothing, artefacts and other items are laid out on the ground, as if a burial has just been uncovered.

The children are invited first, with pencil and paper to document what they see, as if they are archeologists investigating a burial. They are then asked to make any notes they can as to what they think each item tells them about the life of the person, maybe even their beliefs. The children are allowed to respectfully touch the items.

Then we go through in a Q&A session of what each item tells us to see if the guesses they have made match up to the stories of the items on display. Everyday life for both peoples would have been very similar, with things like fashion and beliefs being distinguishing factors. This gives a really good understanding of the life of a Saxon or a Viking, with evidence that can be drawn on later for cross curricular activities by the teacher.

For example: Imagine who this person was, write a story about how they came to be buried here? or write a story about their daily life, how they are looking after the sheep or learning to gather food from the wild. or Draw the home of this person with all the animals around. Imagine going hunting for a deer, what would you need to know?

Workshop Activity. Grinding wheat in a stone quern.

2)Saxon Food: everyday food

This is a really interactive session.  I have a table of  Saxon things to see, smell and feel as I talk about how the Saxons ate I give out lots of small bags of different ingredients, nuts, grains, peas etc. for the children to explore, they try to guess what they are as I chat about each one to give a picture of farming,  trade and who ate what.

Workshop Activity:  Children use flour, yeast and water mixed in bowls and made into loaves. Alternatively oat biscuits, these are then put in named plastic bags which are taken home to bake if no facilities at the school

‘A perfect workshop for infants. Just the right amount of time and they loved stamping their own bread buns. The pairs work well with the mixing bowls. Thank you’ Horton Primary School

3)Weaving  The clothes of the Saxons

Children explore Saxon textiles through the Bayeux Tapestry and other images. Clothes show status, trade and economy. Children, in groups, see and handle examples of wool, linen and silk. Threads dyed with woad, madder and weld giving red, yellow and blue + heddle and tablet looms.

Workshop Activity: Children are shown how to work their own small card loom threaded + bodkin with wool . This loom they can keep and work on later.

4)Medicine. Monastries, Apothecaries and Healers.

Children find out how the Saxons thought the human body worked and who the Saxon people would turn to, to cure their ailments. Illustrated with  herbs they can see, feel and smell.

Workshop Activity: Children make a medicine bag with pestle and mortar to keep with herbs such as Mint, Lavender and Rosemary.

5)Monastic Schoolroom. Using a quill pen and learning by heart.

Finding out how the Saxons learned their letters and why. Who were the teachers?exploring the Saxon learning methods and materials first hand.

Workshop Activity: Children experience writing the alphabet in ‘secretary’ hand, attempt their own name and maybe copy a little poem with a goose quill pen and ink, a page to keep.

6)Games : Saxon children at play.

Children experience which sorts of games were played and understand how different and sometimes how familiar to us some of these games are.

Workshop Activity: Play games. Indoors… Nine Men’s Morris, Jacks or Knuckle bones etc… Outdoors… Leapfrog  etc… (This is a session that can be short or long, really a session that is quite informal and good for rainy lunch days.)



Comments are closed.