Let's be archaeologists!

Be an archaeologist and make your own discoveries about Liverpool and the surrounding areas. Carry out excavations of Prehistoric, Roman, Viking, Tudor or Victorian sites, whilst learning about the importance of evidence and investigating the finds.

This session can be booked Monday to Friday at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm.

Workshop details

The session begins on the Museum of Liverpool’s timeline in the History Detectives gallery which provides a 38 metre overview of Liverpool history and includes more than 700 objects. Discussion introduces pupils to the work of archaeologists and the Manchester Dock excavation is used to highlight how an archaeologist uses clues from the past to tell us about people’s lives at different times. The geographical location of the Museum is explored as it is built on the site of the Manchester Dock.

The use of archaeological tools and digging techniques are demonstrated.  Pupils then have an opportunity to be archaeologists and make their own discoveries about Liverpool and the surrounding areas. Classes explore four time periods chosen from Prehistoric, Roman, Viking, Tudor and Victorian. Please inform the bookings team which time periods your class would like to explore.

Discussion during this session is highly interactive and focuses on the archaeological finds pupils uncover at each time period. The discussion is guided both by Museum and teaching staff and encourages pupils to focus, observe, and interpret the objects for themselves. Focus questions include what materials objects are made from, who might have used them and what they tell us about the lives of the people who used them?  

A minimum of four adults is required to accompany groups for this session.

Groups may like to combine this session with self led exploration of the Museum of Liverpool’s timeline.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Find out about people’s lives in Liverpool and the surrounding area in the past
  • Learn how information about everyday life can be found from archaeological investigation
  • Learn how different periods of history fit into a timeline
  • Museums’ role in looking after artefacts
  • Find out more about the work of an archaeologist
  • Understand where artefacts they see in a museum come from
  • Find out what was under the Museum of Liverpool

Attitudes and values

  •  The importance of archaeological investigation for the preservation of heritage
  • The importance of museums as a research and education facility
  • The importance of caring for objects from our past

Creativity, inspiration and enjoyment

  •  Have a positive, fun experience in a museum
  • A sense of discovery resulting from pupils’ own actions and creative thinking
  • Opening new horizons – the activity reveals how the rubbish discarded by past people can tell a story

Activity, behaviour and progression

  •  Working together to piece together evidence
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to further explore displays with an added understanding
  • A desire to return to the museum and take part in public programme activities or join a Young Archaeologists’ Club

Skills development

  • Teamwork
  • Communicating about discoveries to the rest of the class
  • Using reasoning skills to make deductions from artefacts about past peoples
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Dexterity – working gently
  • Presentation skills and practice

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 - History

In this session puils will-

  • develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study.
  • note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
  • address historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.
  • construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.
  • understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

The session relates to the following Key Stage 2 history curriculum links-

  • a local history study.
  • changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.
  • the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain.
  • the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor.
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

Key Stage 2 - Human and physical geography

  • describe and understand key aspects of human geography, including types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.

Key Stage 2 - English Spoken Language

Pupils will-

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.
  • build their vocabulary.
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives.
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising  and exploring ideas.
  • participate in discussions and presentations
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Fundamental British Values


  • Pupils take part in discussion and debate, working together to make decisions about which objects are of most significance.
  • Pupils work collaboratively and contribute to group decisions about presenting objects and evidence.

Individual liberty

  • Pupils are encouraged to voice opinions appropriately and listen to others, whilst contributing to group decisions.
  • Pupils develop in confidence to ask their own questions and make deductions.

Rule of law

  • Pupils learn that laws and forms of Government and commerce have changed over time.
  • Pupils respect that they need to follow the rules of the museum for their own safety and that of other visitors.

Tolerance and mutual respect

  • Pupils develop empathy through activities based on the real experiences of archaeologists and specific sites on Merseyside.
  • Pupils are encouraged to respectfully reflect on the feelings and opinions of others, considering how opinions and attitudes change over time.
  • Pupils are encouraged to respect opinions and cultural differences from different periods of time.
  • Pupils learn to handle objects with care and respect.