Hackney community archaeology project
MOLA community archaeologists worked with students from Hackney Community College to help engage them with the built heritage of their local area. The pilot initiative was funded by The Institute for Archaeologists, through their bursary placement scheme.
This built heritage community project went beyond buildings archaeology to engage a marginal group in the community.
Using the practical skills involved in buildings archaeology, the students investigated Clapton Old Schoolhouse; a 19th century stone schoolhouse nestled on the riverbank at Lea Bridge. The students, who were all adult English-language learners, were first introduced to buildings archaeology through a series of seminars and activity sessions led by our buildings archaeologists. These were followed by recording sessions on site at the Old Schoolhouse, where the students conducted a standing buildings survey of the site, complete with scale drawings and photographs.
As well as learning about a new subject, the students were able to develop their language skills through discussion and debate about the future of the Old Schoolhouse. This pilot project demonstrates the potential of buildings archaeology to engage with a diverse range of communities in a meaningful and relevant way, and, at the end of the project, the work done by the students formed a lasting record of the history of Old Clapton Schoolhouse.