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What can archaeological evidence tell us about the Anglo-Saxons?

Anglo Saxon artefacts from an excavation at Wheatley, Oxfordshire in 1890. They include a bead necklace, bones and metal implements. They are now housed in the Ashmolean Museum.

Artefacts from an archaeological site in Wheatley, Oxfordshire
Artefacts from an archaeological site in Wheatley, Oxfordshire © Reproduced by permission of Historic England Archive. Ref: CC50/00361

Teaching idea

Explain to pupils about evidence and the role of an archaeologist. The teachers' notes above provides additional information on this topic. You may also wish to discuss what evidence from the past still survives today (see worksheet above). Ask pupils to look at the picture of the Anglo-Saxon objects, without any information next to it, and see if they can identify any of the artefacts shown. Then using this information and the other aspects of archaeology discussed ask them to produce a reconstruction drawing of the person who wore these objects. Reinforce the idea that so long as they can explain what they've drawn all their drawings are as good as each others - there is no definitive right answer!

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To make inferences from archaeological evidence
  • To understand that the Anglo-Saxons lived a long time ago
  • To learn what we can and can not discover from archaeological evidence
  • To select distinctive features of Anglo-Saxon people

Prior knowledge

  • An understanding that different peoples lived in Britain in the past

Extended learning and useful links

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