Monday, January 21, 2008

Comic used to stimulate kids interest in local archaeology in Bidford, England

"WARWICKSHIRE County Council has published a comic to encourage children and young people to get involved in digging up the past in Bidford.

Its archaeological outreach project, Buried under Bidford, which aims to give people the opportunity to experience hands-on archaeology and learn more about the rich heritage of the village, has produced the comic in a bid to engage youngsters with the scheme.

And feedback so far has shown it is doing just that.

It features a picture story of two modern children being taken into the past to live with Romans, facts from Roman times, puzzles, games and historical information.

Aimed at seven to 11-year-olds, it also ties in with key stage 2 of the national curriculum.

Christina Evans, project manager for the county council, said: "Speaking to young people helped shape the format of the comic so that it would be in a format they would understand and enjoy.

"Our feedback since it was published shows that it has helped the Buried under Bidford project to reach young people which is the only way to safeguard its heritage long term."

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlements in the Bidford area and more is believed to be in existence.

Christina added: "The archaeology of an area such as Bidford is priceless and should be preserved for future generations."

An exhibition displaying artefacts featured in the comic is currently running at Warwickshire Museum. These include a tankard discovered at the site of a Roman fort, a samian bowl from Gaul and a spike from the Roman bridge at Bidford, which shows the Roman practice of coating a wooden spike with iron.

Copies of the free comic can be obtained from the Historic Environment Record, Warwickshire Museum, Roman Alcester or Bidford library."

I think comics and graphic novels are vastly underrated for their ability to interest children (and even adults) in historical topics. I'm presently evaluating a tool called CMAP, originally designed as a concept mapping tool, that would enable students to collaborate on storyboards/graphic novels. I created a sample storyboard using the tool (and images from HBO's Rome under fair use) at:

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