Monday, 27 August 2012

Family Fun - Day 2

 Tom Feely of the Ermine Street Guard helped to bring Epiacum to life on Day 2 of the "Family Fun @ the Fort" event, with his realistic interpretation of life in the Roman Army at Epiacum. Visitors met him high up on Epiacum, where he stood on the Southern turret remains looking out to the landscape of the North Pennines, "on watch" for any foolhardy people who might attack the mighty Epiacum fort. Stories of life in the Roman Army kept visitors enthralled and lots of the younger visitors loved having their photos taken with our special guest.

 Working away in the marquee, under the watchful eye of Sue Sharp and Paul Mercer, visitors learned about old age industries such as coin making and learned about how the Romans made slingshot. Paul explained that the Romans used to make "thumb shaped" shot from lead as the biggest insult in Roman times was to point your thumb at someone, so they used to use thumb moulds to literally sling at their attackers. We used pewter, but it made very effective (and shiny) moulds. And with as bit of Science teaching thrown in, hopefully they remembered their school lessons during the school holidays!!
Sue showed visitors how to make celtic jewellery, using aluminium wire to shape into symbols representing "air" "water" and the "sun and moon". She explained some of the beliefs and customs of the celtic people who would have lived here before the Romans arrived.
The marquee was a very popular place to be and everyone gathered here for our final session of the event - a storytelling/ role play session with Paul entitled "The Life and Death of a Roman Soldier"

Using (willing) volunteers, Paul re-enacted a Roman burial, set, like all good stories, in the context of love!!! The audience were entertained with the story of a "love match" between a mighty Roman soldier and a Brigantian maiden - and their ultimate parting through death.
Paul explained how Romans buried thier loved ones with many significant items, such as food and drink, their weapons, money (to pay the ferryman to take them to their afterlife) and sentimental items .
Finally, he demonstrated how, in modern times, graves are excavated and together we debated what would have remained of this roman grave.
A great event, with lots of learning and plenty of fun!! Feedback was fantastic............we will be back with more fun @ the fort in the coming months!
Massive thanks to everyone who made the event possible - there was lots of work behind the scenes in planning and preparation as well as in delivering.

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