Archaeologists unearth Neolithic flint and Victorian pennies during Hampstead Heath Ponds Project

A worked Neolithic or Mesolithic flint found during the Heath Ponds Project works

A worked Neolithic or Mesolithic flint found during the Heath Ponds Project works - Credit: Archant

They won’t be running from giant boulders or uncovering ancient treasures, but youngsters will play at being Indiana Jones for a day at an archeology workshop.

A hearth constructed from broken tile fragments found during the Heath Ponds Project works

A hearth constructed from broken tile fragments found during the Heath Ponds Project works - Credit: Archant

Archaeological findings, some thousands of years old, have been uncovered during the controversial Hampstead Heath Ponds Project to raise the 300-year-old dams in the event of a catastrophic storm.

Victorian pennies, 18th century pottery and even a Neolithic flint have been found near the Model Boating Pond so far.

Some of the findings will end up in museums – but the rest will be used to inspire the next generation of archaeologists through the City of London’s three-year Ponds Project education programme.

“From children, to teenagers, to adults, it’s a subject that captures the imagination,” says Susannah Glover, the City’s education project officer for north London’s open spaces.


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“Some people imagine it’s like Indiana Jones when you start out, but it’s not quite like that,” she adds. “There’s not going to be swinging over tunnels and running away from giant boulders, unfortunately.

“But it can provide a really fun session giving a great insight into what archaeologists actually do and learning about the history of the Heath.”

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The session will first teach pupils from secondary schools across Camden about the subject of archaeology, before studying the Heath’s history and how it has changed over hundreds and thousands of years.

Ms Glover said: “It’s amazing to think that humans walked across here thousands of years ago, the very early homo sapiens potentially cultivating crops here. I found I had a childlike excitement out of it, so I hope the young people will as well.”

The youngsters will then examine some of the archaeological findings unearthed during the £22million Ponds Project construction works.

The workshop is one of several run by the City’s education programme using the Heath as a real-life case study, so that children can learn more about geology, engineering, science and mathematics.

Ms Glover said: “Archaeology has amazing curriculum links with different subjects.

“It’s great to try and capture the imagination of students, and particularly we hope it will make them feel more personally connected to the Heath as they find out more and more about its history.”

Schools can sign up for the workshops by contacting Ms Glover on 0207 3323738 or by emailing ponds.education@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

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