No more digging around to find historical teaching resources!

Published: 16 years ago Author:

Culture Minister David Lammy tries out the new web site with some help form Alistair (on left) from St George The Martyre School and his friend.

London, 7 October 2005 -- Key stage two teachers no longer need to spend hours trying to find resources for historical lesson plans with the launch of a new website by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), which is run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). PAStexplorers - - provides free stand-alone lesson plans which tie into the national curriculum for history, geography, ICT, citizenship and literacy.

Teacher trainer, Andy Bowles, Senior Lecturer in Education at Leeds Metropolitan University said:

"This website developed by archaeologists, education specialists and children contains neat simulations, an easily searchable database and includes a timeline and lots of images. For teachers of British and other histories from foundation to KS4, this unique tool contextualises history. It would support work in all units in the National Curriculum and makes a wonderful investigation tool. It promotes and develops real enthusiasm and total independence in personalised learning."

The content has been written for teachers by teachers with the help of archaeologists, while children chose the graphics and appearance of the site. Children have their own 'fun' section and they can play a Buried Treasure game and explore a virtual Anglo-Saxon Village called West Mucking.

Mark Wood, chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, which manages PAS says:

"We developed the website with a dual purpose in mind - to be a fun and educational site for children and to be a vital resource for teachers. In order to achieve both of those goals we have developed the website based on the feedback of children and teachers. For example, the characters that you see on the site were specifically chosen by children and teachers piloted the lesson plans on their classes."

A summary of the features included in the new website are:

  1. A virtual Anglo-Saxon village (West Mucking), which children can explore to learn more about life in the mid-sixth century.
  2. Lesson plans and support materials tying into the interactive Anglo Saxon village to teach the 'Settlers and Invaders' section of the National Curriculum as well as linking into other subject areas.
  3. A virtual archaeological survey, where children get to do their own field walking and metal detecting.
  4. Pack Your Bag, an exercise in decision-making skills based around virtual fieldwork planning, where children choose and pack their own fieldwork equipment.
  5. A 'Fun Zone', where children can get extra information about finds, archaeology, time periods and how to get involved in archaeology.
  6. An archaeological database of finds recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme which lets children (and adults) discover what has been found where they live.
  7. Period guides covering the prehistoric period, the Iron Age, the Romans, Medieval and post-Medieval period.
  8. A guide to archaeology and treasure.

Culture Minister David Lammy says:

"PAStexplorers is a fun and colourful website, teaching children all about unearthing the secrets of the past and exploring history in a fun way. Teachers are provided with all the resources they need to teach children about archaeology while tying in with the National Curriculum. It should encourage some exciting school projects and teachers can help children to go out and learn about the history of the area where they live and go to school."

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Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Emma Poole/ Gemma Crisp on 020 7273 1459, email and


MLA is the national development agency for museums, libraries and archives, advising the government on policy and priorities for the sector. MLA's roles are to provide strategic leadership, to act as a powerful advocate, to develop capacity and to promote innovation and change.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is the largest community archaeology project this country has ever seen. It was established in 1997 to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by the public and to broaden public awareness of the importance of such finds for understanding our past.

PAS is managed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. It was previously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, but the current grant runs out in March 2006. This new funding of £1.25 million a year was announced as part of the 2004 Spending Review at the end of last year.

PAS operates across the whole of England and Wales through a network of 36 finds liaison officers who also play a crucial role in the effective operation of the Treasure Act, encouraging finders to report their finds and guiding them through the Treasure process. The presence of a Finds Liaison Officer increases the reporting of Treasure by up to five times. The data recorded - itself an important educational resource - is published on the Scheme's website ( ) allowing public access to over 127,000 records and over 50,000 images of finds, as diverse as prehistoric flints to post-medieval buckles - and new finds are going online everyday.

PASt explorers -

PASt explorers is an exciting new and interactive children's website about archaeological finds. It has been developed by archaeologists with input from children and teachers at every stage of its development.

PASt explorers aims to be a teaching and learning resource, both for formal and informal learning, and links in with the national curriculum for subjects such as citizenship, geography, history, ICT and literacy.


Emma Poole
Media and Events Manager

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

T: 020 7273 1459



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