We are a historically based activity centre for children and young adults accessed via school visits, Learning Centre visits, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Colleges and University field studies.
We have developed a unique program of hands on learning incorporating some of the time periods studied in KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum for History.
We believe that children should explore their surroundings, environment and history through an exciting blend of full scale building projects (The Site) and traditional skills and crafts.
Our goal is to enable children and young adults to genuinely experience aspects of daily life in the past, we encourage hard work, sweat and blisters in the context of seasonal and sustainable practice, the results of this hard work is plain to see.
The ATC began over nearly 30 years ago as a school project. Jake Keen, a teacher working at Cranborne Middle School, designed and led the building of an Iron Age roundhouse based on archaeological evidence. Uniquely, Jake’s ethos demanded the construction and material gathering to be undertaken by school children. The harvesting of materials took place in local woodlands and reed beds and after 6 months, the children began work on building the structure. A year of hard work saw the completion of the roundhouse and marked the beginning of the Ancient Technology Centre.
Over the years, schools became interested in the roundhouse project and began to visit in small groups. Further buildings were constructed – always with the focus placed on experimental archaeology and hands on child participation. The ATC flourished with the addition of Reg Miles, a Dorset man who has worked at the centre ever since. Reg brought many traditional skills and a wealth of practical knowledge to the centre, and much of our teaching is still based on his unrivaled knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching young people.
In 2012 the Ancient Technology Centre was commissioned by English Heritage to carry out an experimental archaeology programme to reconstruct Neolithic houses.
Our largest reconstruction on site to date has been the Viking Longhouse. Construction started in 2007 and was completed in 2010. Schools use this building throughout the summer for their 'Viking Residential' experience.