Young Archaeologists’ Club
The Young Archaeologists’ Club is a community-led programme which engages children in archaeology and the built environment. The Club began at the University of Cambridge in 1972 and its programme is now delivered by 600 volunteers at 70 Branches throughout the UK. In 2013 the Club provided opportunities for 7,000 children to get involved in archaeology.
At Young Archaeologists’ Club Branches, young people (age 8 -16 years) can learn together, develop strong identification with their communities and understanding of their place in the world. They develop team-working and communication skills in real-world situations. Getting involved in a Branch provides essential opportunities to meet like-minded peers exploring a subject which inspires genuine motivation, allowing young people to make the most of their individual passions and talents to raise their aspirations and realise their full potential. In a recent survey, two-thirds of Young Archaeologists’ Club Alumni had gone on to study archaeology and one-third to work in the sector. In addition, Young Archaeologists’ Club is unusual in the heritage sector in attracting, as supervisors and teachers, young volunteers, the majority between 25 and 34; it is an experience which gives valuable support as they establish their own adult lives and careers.
The Jury were impressed with the successful achievement over many years of a simple yet vital role – to enthuse young people about archaeology and the past. The dedication that goes into the planning of activities and longer-term structure of the organisation is truly noteworthy and it is no surprise that a high percentage of members go on to study archaeology and work in this field. With many branches embedded into different organisations and geographical areas the Young Archaeologists’ Club is an outstanding achievement in education, which is particularly important when opportunities in this subject within the school curriculum are limited.