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A Most Unusual Christmas Present

Christmas has been a most pleasant affair this year with an opportunity to spend some quality time with family and close friends and I was very fortunate to receive some most suitable “bushcrafty” presents!

My teaching kit for next year has received a welcome boost with some exceptionally thoughtful gifts including a most unusual tin!

The tin in itself is not "too unusual", but I was initially a little bemused by the cryptic note contained therein.

Wrapped neatly and carefully in the tissue paper and cotton wool were two authentic fire steels from the Roman occupation of Britain. Some initial and very basic research would indicate that both could possibly date to from between the 1st -3rd centaury BC.

The one above is referred to as a C design.

The one above is referred to as a P design.

On closer inspection of the P design firesteel it is plain to see with the naked eye where a small sliver of metal has been removed on what must have been the one of the last occasions the firesteel was used; inspection under the microscope revealed that this portion removed was indeed quite ancient and as rusted as the rest of the metal of the steel.

These kinds of artefacts are an essential resource especially when working with young people in schools as it allows an exceptionally tactile reconnection with the history that shaped out lands; I really love watching the faces of the children as they handle and examine these ancient artefacts.

I’m sure these new additions to our kit will be useful with all the bushcraft courses Badger Bushcraft designs and delivers including our School Based Project work throughout the educational network.

Many thanks to Peter and Pam Payne for these most thoughtful gifts!

I have just found out that the firesteels come from Bredon Hill in Worcestershire. A quick piece of research of the area reveals some very interesting prehisortic and Romano-British evidence including:-


"Prehistoric evidence includes:

Palaeolithic handaxes and other stone tools from Aston Mill Quarry and Beckford Quarry,
Mesolithic flints from Aston Mill Quarry, Huntsman's Quarry in Kemerton and from Beckford Quarry,
A small Neolithic henge (hengiform) at Westmancote,
Late Neolithic ring-ditches - the ploughed out remains of barrows – at Aston Mill Quarry and Huntsman's Quarry, Kemerton
Beaker burials on Bredon Hill,
Beaker pits and extensive evidence for Late Bronze Age settlement at Huntsman's Quarry, Kemerton,
Iron Age hillforts at Kemerton Camp, Conderton Camp and possibly at Elmley Castle,
Iron Age farmsteads south-west of Kemerton village, at Aston Mill Quarry, and at Beckford Quarry.


Romano-British evidence includes:

Farmsteads at Kemerton, Aston Mill, Beckford and Ashton-under-Hill,
A wealthy farmstead (perhaps a villa) and other closely-spaced settlements at Nettlebeds, Elmont Field and Overbury Wood in Conderton and Overbury."

More information here

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