IAA Project type: Creative residency

Partner organisations: Nova New Opportunities and Story Jam

MOLA staff leading IAA grant: Dr Claire Harris

Individual partners: Matthew Barnett from Nova New Opportunities, Lucy Lill and Alys Torrance from Story Jam

Project aims

Participants will develop their knowledge and understanding of Iron Age archaeology through guided walks, object-based sessions, and virtual reality experiences.

They will learn new craft skills and explore their responses to the archaeology through storytelling workshops.


  • Families who access Nova New Opportunities’ Family Programme.  
  • Sessions are aimed at Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) children and their parents/guardians. 

Project plan

Riverstories will connect families with the rich prehistoric archaeology of the Thames, developing participants’ sense of place, time and identity. Participants will develop their skills and confidence to create and share their own narratives, bringing new voices to reshape and retell archaeological stories.

The project will consist of 6 day-long workshops.  

In the first workshop we will explore the project area and collect objects from the Thames foreshore. The introductory storytelling session will use the found objects to foster creativity, confidence, and listening. Participants will use their imaginations and develop the idea that an object can be a gateway to a whole world. 

The second workshop will be based around MOLA’s Virtual Reality (VR) roundhouse and will help participants to imagine themselves in the Iron Age. The storytelling activity will be based around the topic of home and draw on participant’s own experience of home and their exploration of the VR roundhouse. 

Workshops three and four will be based around Iron Age objects (finds and replicas) and will include a craft activity e.g. weaving, making a pot, making an iron age brooch. The storytelling sessions will be based around the objects and will encourage participants to examine objects carefully and imagine them being made and used. 

The fifth workshop will use images to help develop a sense of the wider Iron Age landscape outside of the roundhouse. The storytelling session will be based around exploring how life in the Iron Age may have sounded and smelt! 

In the final workshop participants will build on previous sessions to create their own story about Iron Age Britain. The final stories will be performed to the group.