Archaeology club and the air-raid shelter

Our deputy head Mr Philip created the following blog.

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8th Jan 1940 log book Paganel juniors. ‘6 air raid shelters finished and ready for use’

The Brainchild of three Year 5 pupils, Archaeology Club got underway two weeks ago. Our first session wasn’t much of a success – we managed to dig up some of Mrs Hunt’s bulbs in the Quadrangle and we found a rock that must of had a large amount of metal in it, since it made the metal detector beep.

And yes – we have our first Paganel Primary School metal detector – enabling us to sweep the ground for treasure.

The second week was much better. We had heard, via Mr Grinham, the site supervisor, that there was an old air raid shelter buried somewhere at the back of the huts. So we begun there, Alfie sweeping the ground with the metal detector and almost instantly we began to hear lots of beeps. A short bit of digging later and we hit something hard – it was concrete buried about 10 cm down and with rods of rusty iron running through it – reinforced concrete – just the sort of thing that might have been used to make a school air raid shelter in 1939.

But why an archaeology club, I hear you ask? Well first of all there are three enthusiastic archaeologists in Year 5 – Alfie, Cameron and Reece who have all had a keen interest in history, finding buried treasure and generally digging up the ground since they were in Year 3. Secondly we had heard from the curator of Weoley Castle Ruins that she suspected there may have been an Anglo-Saxon settlement on the ridge above the the location where the Weoley Castle lies – the very ridge upon which school is built. So with the prospect of our very own Stafford shire Hoard in our mind (with admittedly a very low probability) we set out on the Archaeology Club.

And no, after two weeks we have found no Anglo Saxon gold, but we have found that air raid shelter and we have also heard that 22 years ago a ‘time capsule’ was buried on the field. Unfortunately we can find no record of where that time capsule may lie, so a lot of metal detecting is still ahead of us. It’s a big field…

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