Donaldson Week Trip to the Corinium Museum

On 11th February the MIV girls (Year 8) departed with their three Classics teachers to visit the Corinium Museum in Cirencester. For most of the girls this was their first visit and it was exciting to visit a museum of such historical importance so close to Calne. The MIV Latin students have recently started Book II of the Cambridge Latin Course, in which the stories are all set in Roman Britain, so we hoped the day would give the girls an opportunity to explore the artefacts and archaeological remains in order to further develop their understanding of life in Roman Britain. For the MIV Classical Civilisation students it allowed them to see how the mythology they have been studying was imbued into everyday Roman life.

We arrived at lunch time and, as we were fortunate enough to have exclusive use of the museum, the girls were allowed to eat their lunch in the main gallery. It was quite a special experience to be able to eat one’s sandwiches surrounded by some of the best preserved mosaics and artefacts in the country! After lunch, the Museum’s lovely volunteer, Patricia, spoke to the girls about life in Roman Cirencester and directed the girls to some of the museum’s most rare and prized artefacts, including a bronze cockerel found in a burial site. The girls then split into small groups and explored the museum for just under an hour, completing a guided worksheet and enjoying the various interactive exhibits.

We were then treated to an hour-long handling session where the girls were divided into four groups and given the opportunity to handle real Roman artefacts and challenged to think like archaeologists. In this Roman ‘through the keyhole’, the girls examined the artefacts, discussed where they were found and then deduced who they might have belonged to and what kind of house they might have lived in. One lucky member of each group then dressed up as the real Roman who lived in the house and two other girls presented their group’s findings to the rest of the form.

After a quick snack we hopped back on the bus and returned to school, having enjoyed a true glimpse of what life was like for the Romans in Britain and the challenges faced by the archaeologists who attempt to untangle the past.

Miss Louise Cavanagh, Classics Teacher