On Saturday (18th March), the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) met here at the Roman circus centre for their March meeting.
Colchester YAC organiser Barbara Butler writes: ‘… We had 17 Colchester YAC members at our meeting on Saturday. Our theme was clothing and armour, and we all discussed our favourite periods of history and what we might have worn at those times. Ideas ranged from “nothing, except body paint”, through “animal skins cut to cover the bits you needed to cover” and to “disposable paper underwear from the 1960s”!
YAC leader and ASE archaeologist Kate Clover had brought in some items of replica clothing such as woollen shifts and a Roman auxiliary soldier’s tunic, armour and weapons. As the YAC members tried on the soldier’s kit in turn, they found that it was quite heavy to patrol in! YAC member Niles had brought some items of replica medieval armour, which the YAC members enjoyed trying on, as well. (Roman auxiliary soldiers were recruited from provinces within the Roman empire but were from non-Roman tribes. There is evidence of Roman auxiliary soldiers here at Colchester, and there is a memorial to a Roman auxiliary soldier – Catunectus of the Trinovantes tribe – at Köln (Cologne) in Germany, dated to about AD 100. The Trinovantes tribe held land in what is now Essex, Suffolk and Greater London before the Roman conquest of Britannia, so Catunectus would have been from this area.)
Sue Hutson is a member of FCAT (Friends of the Colchester Archaeological Trust) and an expert spinner and weaver. She took the YAC members through the skills of spinning and weaving. She showed us some samples of spun wool (yarn) which had been dyed in vegetable, fruit and plant dyes. One YAC member spent over an hour weaving a small piece of cloth which he was able to finish and take home: “I thought it was only 20 minutes!”, he said. Then, using a variety of materials, including pens, paper and wooden pegs, the YAC members enjoyed creating a variety of designs from full body armour to haute couture …’.
The images show the YAC members trying on the items of armour; some of the dyed yarns; YAC members all busy weaving and then making their designs, with Sue Hutson and YAC helper and CAT volunteer Gillian Brown; and one of the YAC members’ designs.
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]peterbutlerdesign.co.uk or Barbara Butler, Colchester YAC Branch, c/o the Colchester Archaeological Trust, Roman Circus House, Roman Circus Walk, Colchester, Essex CO2 7GZ.
The National Young Archaeologists’ Club web-site is at www.yac-uk.org/ .