The Ancient Technology Centre
Damerham Road, Cranborne, BH21 5RP. Phone: 01725 517618
The Ancient Technology Centre has developed a unique program of hands on learning for children of all ages. We believe that children should explore their surroundings, environment and history through an exciting blend of full scale building projects and traditional skills and crafts. Our starting point is archaeology and this informs the many buildings and activities that we offer. Our goal is to enable children to genuinely experience aspects of daily life in the past, we encourage hard work, sweat and blisters in the context of seasonal and sustainable practice, the results of this hard work is plain to see. We are now making an effort to open our amazing site to the public and we hope to see you soon!
The ATC began over 25 years ago as a school project. Jake Keen, a teacher working at Cranborne Middle School, designed and led the building of an Iron Age roundhouse based on archaeological evidence. Uniquely, Jake’s ethos demanded the construction and material gathering to be undertaken by school children.
The harvesting of materials took place in local woodlands and reed beds and after 6 months, the children began work on building the structure. A year of hard work saw the completion of the roundhouse and marked the beginning of the Ancient Technology Centre.
Over the years, schools became interested in the roundhouse project and began to visit in small groups. Further buildings were constructed – always with the focus placed on experimental archaeology and hands on child participation.
The ATC flourished with the addition of Reg Miles, a Dorset man who has worked at the centre ever since. Reg brought many traditional skills and a wealth of practical knowledge to the centre, and much of our teaching is still based on his unrivalled knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching young people.
Luke Winter took over the management of the ATC in 2002. An experimental archaeologist by training, his focus has been on improving the existing activities and buildings at the centre, while developing public access to the site and leading to the construction of our Viking Longhouse residential building.
The ATC is striving to open its doors regularly to the public and this year will join the International Organisation of Archaeological Open Air Museums. We now have an active volunteer association which supports the maintenance of the buildings and site. Our staff are dedicated to the education of children and the preservation of ancient skills.