Friday, 7 March 2014

Butser Hill Ancient Farm School Field Trip

butser ancient farm hampshireoverhanging ice layer cracks and man falls funnyToday was the much feted Butser Ancient Farm field trip. Advertised as an exciting day making jewellery, building a wattle and daub structure, digging, shopping and seeing a Roman villa, the free school trip cost only £13.50.
butser ancient farm and roman excavated villa hampshire schools field tripWe knew from our spy-in-the-neolithic-camp (Bensmum) that it is an exposed and windy location so I dressed up for an ice age and took the camera in case any moraine fell down a crevasse in the glacier, hoho.
In the end, I actually ran the camera's battery down, but timed it perfectly so the last shot was of the bus home, 199 pictures the lot. I insisted on taking several pictures of this pig bottom with added curly tail.
The farm is a medium-quality attraction high on mud and academic instruction but low on swings and slides.
butser ancient farm and roman villadeer stuck with spear cave paintingTheir Saxon roundhouse is nicely thatched and the Roman Villa is a reconstruction in which they admit they don't know why only one of the rooms was served by the hypocaust (underfloor heating system).
They have some pigs outside and they have muddified their entire pen. They have decorated fenceposts and hearths with skulls and horns from domesticated animals, I particularly liked the horse's heads (insert Mafia threats here) and the ramshorns.
roman villa mosaic example butser ancient farm school field tripwall fresco butser ancient farm roman villa recreation school field tripThere was a picture of 3 naked ladies in the Roman Villa which was strangely alluring and many recreations of paintings and mosaics, featuring portraits, olive trees, snakes, and other reminders of home. The big floor mosaic turned out to be made of Lego, which definitely helped explain its construction, but Ben and I collaborated on one made of little tiles, tessellation is cool.
The weather cleared up and we had lunch al fresco. The olde pre-english sections were good on interlaced birch twigs and mud for your walls, hollowed logs, fireplaces in the middle of the floor, pelts drying on stretchers, and archaeological digs. Ben and I found some bones, tiles, and bits of a UFO.
home made mosaic with little tiles on school field triproman amphorae butser ancient farm and roman villa hampshireThere were Runic inscriptions, herbs in B+Q flowerpots, and a chap with a trainee moustache who explained everything in an Australian hat. It's amazing how far those Aussie proto-humans got. There were some nice amphorae and benches that were great for us but too short for the teachers. The walls were decorated with hunting scenes of chaps chasing deer with their bits carefully obscured by animal skins and there were buckets of flints and chalk nodules and charcoal.
climbing rock in playpark blue skyIn the shop I bought a Celtic warrior, a Roman warrior and a Celtic replica coin which I instantly lost, something for future Year 3 archaeologists to re-discover.
The day was still sunny so we did an hour's hard work in the park with lots of my old schoolfriends and I took off my shirt as I was hot hot hot and I was the only shirtless boy, give it a couple of months for the rest to catch up.
Swimming was butterfly-stroke training so when I finished I was somewhat pooped. Jof phoned and was angry about the bus replacement service tomorrow which increased her journey time to 3 hours. Thus she elected to come back late tonight because Nanna's recovery from the brink of badness has been nothing but amazing. OK, so I was asleep, but I slept better with her aura around me...

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