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Heritage Lottery Project

Heritage Lottery Fund Project


The projects on this page have  been funded entirely or in part by a £23,100 grant from The Heritage Lottery  Fund. There have been activities at schools in the Blandford Area, the Ancient  Technology Centre in Cranborne, and at the Blandford Museum.


Julian Richards (archaeologist, broadcaster and writer) was the lead archaeologist in two school digs carried out in the Blandford area. This first was at the site of the old Milldown school and involved the students now attending the new Milldown school. The second dig was near Knighton House School and Knighton House, Bryanston and Durweston Schools participated.

Old Milldown School site Excavation
Test pits were dug by the children from the school, finding many Neolithic flints and a polished flint axe.

Knighton House School Excavation
Just outside Blandford near the village of Durweston, was the site of the second school dig. As the school had already been looking at the history of their school grounds and had discovered a strange legend about Roman vineyards nearby.

Julian thought they were more likely to be strip lynchets, flat terraces Mediaeval in age. A narrow terrace was selected to dig a single trench 5 m long and 1 m wide. They found first 18/19th century pottery, and further down Mediaeval pottery. As digging continued down, they did not reach the chalk but started finding prehistoric pottery. It was evident by this time that the site was older than Mediaeval, and just to reinforce this, a bronze dress pin, disc-headed and dating to the late Bronze Age, around 800 BC, was discovered.

The locations of all finds were recorded and the soil residues sieved to make sure nothing was missed. The dig was carried out by students from Knighton House and also from Durweston Primary School. Older students from nearby Bryanston School also came and dug, and at the end an open day allowed everyone to see what had been found and ask questions about the work.


Blandford Museum Filming and Editing Crew

Four students from the Blandford School and a young man from the community have been involved in projects so far filming the HLF Launch, Archaeological fieldwork, and in the making of a film on “What it means to be British”.

Students are editing the films and were given a session on how to use Final Cut Pro by Gabriel Martin from Bryanston School Media Department.


School and Group Visits to the Museum

A large project was developed with Spetisbury Primary School (a Blandford Pyramid school). Three senior citizens were interviewed about their WWII experiences by Samantha Kelly’s Sycamore Class.

The interviews were filmed and also digitally recorded by a member of the museum Living History project. The class followed up with a trip to the museum and a tour by museum staff of the remaining WWII defence structures in Blandford.

On 23rd February an evening premier of the children’s history film was shown at the Blandford Museum. Parents and guests were invited to come in 1940s dress and rationed food item and tea made by the children. The Mayor also attended and there were about 60 guests. This project is being used as an exemplar for future projects with other pyramid schools.

A request for the development of a similar project called “Romans” has been made, which will include projects, visits to the museum and other sites and an evening event for the children and families. It has also prompted the museum curator to propose a permanent exhibit at the museum which will highlight school and individual student’s and local young people’s projects on a revolving basis.

Group and student projects

The Scouts recently celebrated a 200 year anniversary and want to combine their work on their history, museum archival photos and data and interviews of residents who have been involved in scouting through the years to create a body of archival data, which will form an exhibit on Scouting in Blandford.

The “What it means to be British” filming by two Blandford School students involved eight members of the community, who were interviewed in groups of four. That film is currently being edited along with footage the students obtained by interviewing their classmates at Blandford School. This will form part of a temporary exhibit at the museum this summer.


School Activities with the Ancient Technology Centre

A Pimperne Primary class of  Year 3 children visited for the day to investigate the Iron Age in Britain.  Based in the reconstructed buildings, they ground flour and baked bread, forged  iron, and made fire. At Spetisbury Primary,  the ATC set up an ancient  camp at the school to provide a day’s outreach to the whole school of 147  children. The day concentrated on the Stone Age and involved a mixture of “show  and tell” sessions looking at animal skins and the changing landscape over  time, and practical skills such as leather making, fire making, wild food  gathering and natural fibre cordage.

Milldown Primary also benefited from a  visit by the ATC team who undertook training for all year groups (180 children)  and staff in the task of making cob bricks. This was the first and crucial  stage in re-building a small thatched structure in their grounds to replace the  temporary Neolithic House built during the 2009 Milldown Project.