Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club: February meeting

On Saturday (21st February), the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) met at Roman Circus House. They were a smaller than usual group of members, but it was school half-term week…

Colchester YAC organiser Barbara Butler writes: ‘… At our YAC meeting, we continued our time line into the Tudor period. Trust volunteer and YAC volunteer leader Gillian Brown showed us bottle seals and explained how to identify historic bottles from fragments with a useful handout.

Anne Tomkinson, Colchester town guide and Tudor specialist at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk, introduced herself and explained the Tudor diet and cookery with examples of a rissole made out of dried peas and mint and a typical vegetable pottage. Not all of our young members were brave enough to try these, but some did and really enjoyed them! We all wore hats or hoods if we had them: as Anne explained, heads were always covered in that period, in case people shared their lice and fleas with each other or they got into the food. Anne showed us the clothes she was wearing and how everything was either pinned together or tied.

YAC volunteer leader Jill Hamblin had prepared a Tudor quiz for us with pictures of personalities and dates. We had two winners who got every answer right! Anne had also brought some herbs, spices and vegetables to identify. There was one spice which no-one was able to identify and that was a pepper substitute from India. To conclude, Anne showed the children how to make Tudor sweets, of sugar paste, some flavoured with mint and others with lemon zest. Our young members were able to take their sweets home. Unfortunately, there was no time to make the Tudor roses out of marzipan, but Anne has promised to come back to another meeting for that …’

The images show Anne in full costume with the group, and the Tudor food samples.


Feb YAC a x


Feb YAC b x


If you are aged under 17 and interested in joining the Young Archaeologists’ Club in Colchester, then please contact Barbara Butler on 07808 968766 or at barbara[at] or Barbara Butler, Colchester YAC Branch, c/o the Colchester Archaeological Trust, Roman Circus House, off Circular Road North, Colchester, Essex CO2 7GZ.

The National Young Archaeologists’ Club web-site is at .