Following two years of successful digging at the Iron Age enclosure on Mardon farm, TillVAS held a special event at Etal Village Hall earlier this summer. This was a completely free event, giving opportunities to share what we had learned about the Iron Age and engage the community with their local culture and heritage.
Early crafts and skills were demonstrated and visitors were allowed some hands-on experience of what life might have been like for those living at Mardon. We were pleased to welcome visitors of all ages who joined in enthusiastically with the activities, displays and demonstrations offered.
Building a replica Iron Age roundhouse proved one of our most popular activities and thanks go to Jane Miller and her team of helpers and young archaeologists for a splendid demonstration of what can be achieved by willow, straw and team work.
Bread making was another popular activity and must have been successful as barely a crumb was left afterwards. Replica Iron Age artefacts were displayed by costumed re-enactors and the real finds on display were very popular.
A loom and spindles were available for visitors to try weaving and spinning. There was a good supply of charcoal and ochre to make pictures of animals around in the Iron Age and a steady queue of children made replica beads. Dressing-up outfits were available for the braver visitors, including a roman soldier or two. A special thanks go to Byr Reeds for all her hard work and Peregrini for lending their dressing up box.
Another great success was pottery making where both children and adults could make small pots using locally sourced clay. The results were very good, some even being decorated using sticks and feathers. Other dried pots, made on a pottery course earlier in the year, were fired in an adjoining field using Iron Age technology.
We were blessed with fine weather and had between 250 and 300 visitors on the day. It was gratifying that a number of people asked whether we would do it again next year. The answer is yes, we would like to do another similar event linked to future excavation and research, but perhaps in two years time when we might be looking at a different era of history.
Many thanks go to Ford and Etal Estates, who were very supportive of our event and thanks also go to Mattia at the Black Bull who provided a simple light meal using ingredients available at the time. Lastly thanks to Richard at the Lavender tearooms for allowing us generous access to the hall to prepare for the day.