We believe experiential learning through living and working in an authentic Dark Age period is the best way to learn history. Our activities are linked to KS1 and KS2 of the National Curriculum for History.
Visitors to our site genuinely experience what it would have been like to live a day in the life of their ancestors. It is hard work, takes a team effort, determination and a lot of questions to complete their task.
Plus many wonderful ATC volunteers.
The concept of the ATC was the inspiration of Jake Keen, a teacher working at Cranborne Middle School who, over 30 years ago, designed and led the building of an Iron Age roundhouse based on archaeological evidence. The construction was undertaken by school children who harvested local materials from nearby woodlands and reed beds. This founding principle of allowing participants to get 'hands on' has guided the ethos of the centre to this day.
Luke Winter took over from Jake in 2002 and further expanded the site with the creation of our magnificent Viking Longhouse. Following a visit to Denmark in order to research longhouses, Luke used that information to design a building specifically for school residential visits.
With the combined effort of staff and the help of many enthusiastic volunteers, the building took four years to complete.
Over the years further buildings were constructed – always with the focus on experimental archaeology and hands on learning for the visitors.
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.