Garden finds survey


 This session for KS2 uses information from artefacts found in pupils’ gardens to act as a platform from which to explore a number of cross-curricular activities. These can link history, art, maths and IT depending on the needs of the school and its pupils.


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If you ask a group of pupils (or for that matter a group of initial teacher training students) what an archaeologist does, the answer always involves the same word. Dig. Of course it’s true, archaeologists do a lot of digging, but it’s not the only way of gathering information. A garden finds survey could produce equally interesting results and it’s something in which every pupil can take part as long as they have a garden which they can investigate.

 What is involved?

Two 1 hour s sessions with each class involved in the project. They would need to be spilt over a weekend so that I could do the introductory session beforehand and asses the material brought in by the children in the subsequent week.

In the introductory session I talk about what an archaeologist does and the kind of things which s/he is looking for. At the end of the session each pupil is given a plastic bag and is asked to look for finds in his/her own garden. There’s no digging involved: all we need them to do is look in their flowerbeds to see what might have come to the surface as the garden was being dug over.

The following week I will return to the school to talk to the children about what they have found and how it tells us about people in the past. Most of their finds are likely to be sherds of Victorian pottery but occasionally other things turn up too. It’s one of the beauties of archaeology: you never know what you will find.

 The material recovered can then be used as a stimulus for further historical enquiry, for work in art or for the creation graphs and charts in IT.


The activity costs £90 per class for schools in West Yorkshire. This covers a 1 hour introductory session and a return session to evaluate the children’s finds. If a longer introductory session is required, the 2 hour session outlined on the Archaeology in the Classroom page could be used.  This would raise the total cost of the activity to £120. Travel expenses will be charged for schools outside West Yorkshire.

 Boking a session

If you would like to book a session, or just to talk over how archaeology might help your class get in touch via the contact page.

 More activities for schools

 Garden finds survey is only one of a range of activities for schools. Click here to find out about the others.


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