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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Schools Resources

These resources are based on our taught schools' sessions and can be downloaded for free and used as part of your curriculum teaching. They include illustrated PowerPoints, teacher's notes and worksheets.

Themes:


The Ancient Maya

We offer two sessions on the fascinating world of the Ancient maya, both include a taught element and an opportunity to handle authentic artefacts from Central and South America.

Rituals and Beliefs

Rituals and Beliefs focuses on the scene from a plaster cast taken of a stone lintel from the doorway of a temple in the city of Yaxchilan, now in modern day Mexico, and dating from 709AD.

The images depict a blood-letting ritual being performed by Lady K'ab'al Xook and her husnabd King Shield Jaguar. Lady K'ab'al Xook can be seen pulling a rope of thorns through her tongue in order to collect blood in a bowl filled with bark paper. Both figures are wearing jade and obsidian jewellery and dressed in resplendent costumes made fo fur and elaborate fabrics. 

Such rituals were a way in which rulers connected to powerful Mayan gods while at the same time reinforcing their right to rule. The session aims to put such practices into context and reflect on how rituals of all descriptions are part of what it is to be human.

 

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes

Download the Worksheet

 

King K'ak'Tiliw Chan Yopaat

King K'ak'Tiliw Chan Yopat focuses on another plaster cast from the ancient city of Quirigua, now in modern day Guatemala. The cast, taken from a huge stone stela, carries a portrait of King K'ak'Tiliw Chan Yopat, ruler of Quirigua between 724 and 785 AD. 

Pupils are shown how to read the image, deciphering the symbolic meaning of every aspect of the portrait while at the same time learning about life during the period.

 

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes

Download the Worksheet


Stone Age to Iron Age

This session traces life in Britain from the time of Paleolithic hunters through to the Iron Age and the arrival of the Romans. Find out what distinguishes each epoch, and how everyday objects changed through time and space.

 

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes

Download the Worksheet


Mesolithic Headdress (Star Carr, Yorkshire)

These resources have been created for teachers to deliver a school-based session focused on the enigmatic Red Deer antler headdresses from the world renowned site of Star Carr in Yorkshire, England.

Dating from the Mesolithic, these 11,000 year old objects are thought to be linked to shamanic practices performed millennia ago along the edges fo a watery environment. 

The PowerPoint below has links to videos made by the team currently investigating this important archaeological site, along with images of other artefacts recovered during earlier investigations. With accompanying teachers notes, prompts to stimulate discussion and ideas for craft and written activities, this package contains all you need to begin exploring the fascinating world of our hunter-gathering Mesolithic ancestors.

 

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes


Early Medieval Britain (formerly Anglo-Saxon Britain)

This resource focuses on the grave goods found accompanying a rare Early Medieval bed burial excavated by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit at Trumpington, Cambridge in 2011.

It encourages pupils to think about why a particular group of personal objects was chosen by the living to be placed with the body of a young woman. 

The grave goods included a magnificent gold and garnet encrusted cross along with a pair of gold and garnet pins. What can such objects reveal about the life and beliefs of this young person, and what do our personal possessions reveal about us?

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes

Download the Worksheet


Cambridge Settlements

This resource takes you on an archaeological journey through time, from the Palaeolithic to the Norman invasion of 1066. Focusing on Cambridgeshire, it looks at changes in lifestyles and material culture and is lavishly illustrated with images of objects from the museum's extensive collections.

Resources

Download the PowerPoint

Download the Teacher's Notes

Download the Worksheet

 


We hope you enjoy using these resources and exploring our collections! If you have any thoughts or feedback, we would love to hear them, and don't forget to share any of your creations with us on social media @MAACambridge.

Want to enhance your learning with a gallery visit?

The Museum welcomes school groups of all ages, and we offer a series of gallery-based taught sessions that draw on unique collections spanning a variety of cultures from around the world. Click here to book your visit, or get in touch with us at education.bookings@maa.cam.ac.uk.

Medieval English palimpsest monumental brass to a lady and her four sons and eight daughters. Medieval (c 1380; c 1525). Aldenham, Hertfordshire, UK. MAA Z 22616. Photography by Dave Webb.

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.