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We have been busy becoming questioning historians in our History lessons.  We worked in groups to follow the enquiry process and used our skills to explore evidence found by archaeologists and then built our own hypotheses about what the evidence might tell us.  We were given different sources and clues about the mystery of twelve huge mounds.  Some of us thought the mounds might be covering ancient Anglo-Saxon shelters.  We then examined some more clues and discovered that they were actually Anglo-Saxon burial mounds.  The largest mound contained the imprint of a boat which contained lots of Anglo-Saxon treasures.  Some of our hypotheses included:


  • “The mounds might have been where they worshipped their Gods, before they converted to Christianity.”
  • “I think it looks like the shape of a wooden long boat like they used.”
  • “It must have been someone rich with all those treasures.”
  • “It might have been an Anglo-Saxon chief who needs the treasures with him.”
  • “It’s like the Egyptians- they buried their dead with treasures too!”


Still image for this video


Still image for this video

Were the Anglo-Saxon times really 'Dark ages?'

We first of all thought about why the Anglo-Saxon period is referred to as the 'dark ages'.  We considered lots of different reasons about what this could mean.  Some of our super suggestions included:

  • the brutal punishments that were used for people who broke the law
  • the fact that children were expected to work from a young age
  • that things that the Romans had built fell to ruin
  • all the fighting that was taking place between different groups and tribes.


We learned that it is often called the 'dark age' because there is very limited evidence of what went on during that time, so we are 'in the dark'.  


We then worked in small groups to place some different and contrasting interpretations of this period of History onto a 'darkness' spectrum.  It helped us to consider whether it was fair to call this period of History the 'dark age'.



Diving deeper....
We began our new History topic with a picture source.  We had no idea what our new period of study was, so we had to use clues in the picture to make inferences.  We used our enquiry skills to make some super hypotheses.  Joe thought the cliffs in the background could be the White Cliffs of Dover and he thought this made sense as the people attacking could have come from across the Channel!  A few of us thought the invaders could be Vikings.  We had lots of further questions about the picture, such as 'Why do the shields they are carrying have different patterns on them?'.

Today we used our enquiry skills to solve the mystery of the real reasons why Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain.  We had to use clues and evidence to work out reasons that would be likely or unlikely.  We discovered that there were several reasons why they invaded and we then decided if these reasons were push or pull factors.  

For instance, a pull factor was that they were interested in the metals available in Britain. A push factor was the flooding in their homelands that had ruined their crops.

We then watched and evaluated two different video clips about why they invaded to decide which video clip was more reliable and historically accurate.

We used the poem 'The Ruin' to enquire about what the Anglo-Saxons arrived to find in Britain.  We considered how our previous work on the Romans linked to this period of History and also reflected on how reliable the source was.