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GROUNDBREAKING: Presenting the past and inspiring the future

Posted on 28 May 2013

Undergraduates in the Department of Archaeology will present their end of year post-fieldwork exhibition at King’s Manor on Wednesday 19th June at 4pm in G/60.

28-05-2013 Heritage Practice

First Year Archaeology and Heritage Studies students in the department are offered the unique opportunity of participating in and presenting significant archaeological research projects. And on 19 June at 4pm they will be showcasing such work at the year-end exhibition in King's Manor, K/G60. That exhibition touches on the many aspects of archaeological and heritage practice that the students have contributed to in 2013, including excavation at the First World War training ground at Breary Banks near Masham; post excavation analysis and research on the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr near Scarborough; and producing films about Star Carr for the Yorkshire Museum exhibition “After the Ice” which opened on 24th May.

The Heritage students are registered on a distinct heritage field school module - Heritage Practice. Rather than writing an essay or developing a seminar presentation, the assessment of this module involves the students showcasing their work in print, photographic and film media.

Heritage Practice Module Leader, Dr Sara Perry explained that the students are doing something completely unique: at once undertaking professional standard excavation; attempting to challenge traditional archaeological narratives by producing their own stories; blogging about their learning process; and collaborating with curators, IT specialists and filmmakers from around the world who are sharing their expertise and critiques: “The year-end exhibition will provide a showcase of some of the innovative activities our students are engaged in”.

The students have a free hand in how they present the work within a multi-media and interactive format, which pushes at the boundaries of innovation and the available technology:

“The exhibition is stretching our creativity, and our new knowledge of technology has been inspiring” commented Heritage Practice student Jenna Tinning.

The University of York is unique in offering undergraduates formal training and skills development in excavation and heritage during term time: indeed 2013 marks the first year of the Heritage Practice module, during which the students have produced films, designed display cabinets for the Yorkshire Museum, studied audience reception of their visual outputs, blogged about their progress and curated the end-of-year departmental exhibition. These approaches combine an academic understanding of archaeological and heritage approaches with valuable practical experience, placing students in a strong position with regards to workplace skills.

Dr John Schofield, Head of Department, commented that ‘the Department is proud to be at the forefront of archaeological research and teaching. Both are evidenced in the very high standard of the work displayed in the exhibition.”

All are welcome to visit the exhibition, and can follow the students’ progress on their Heritage Practice blogs:

Their film work is on display at the Yorkshire Museum, and viewable on YouTube:

A Mystery of Star Carr

The Story of Star Carr

The filmmaker Gavin Repton has also produced a short documentary feature about the students’ work for the Yorkshire Museum. It is viewable on YouTube at this link: