Author: Tim Taylor
Theme: The Anglo-Saxons
Age Range: KS2
Main Curriculum Focus: History
Inquiry Question: What effects did the Anglo-Saxon invasions and settlement have on English history?
Expert Team: History researchers
Client: BBC
Commission(s): To do the background research for a series of programmes called ‘The Really Interesting History of Britain’.

Note: The planning for this unit is still in a draft form. I’m working on a revised version but have decided to publish this draft early to meet the publication of an article in Creative Teaching and Learning Magazine and for teachers who are preparing for the introduction of the new curriculum in Sept. 2014.


A team of history researchers are commissioned by the BBC to do the background reasearch for a series of programmes called ‘The Really Interesting History of Britain’.
They visit an Anglo-Saxon excavation site and discover ancient artefacts – uncovered by the archeologists working there – tell amazing stories of the people who once built, lived and died in the village. They learn the villagers were part of a civilisation which was displaced from their homeland, settled in Britain, and created a culture which thrived for over 500 years before being destroyed by defeat at the battle of Hastings.
This unit begins with the children looking at the noticeboard of a team of successful and busy history researchers. The associated inquiry introduces the students to the work of the team and creates an opportunity for them to ‘step into’ the fiction. The first task for the children is to create the meeting room for the history team from the furniture of the classroom. The second (as the experts) is to give feedback to the BBC for their newly commissioned series ‘The Really Interesting History of Britain.’
They then visit a local Anglo-Saxon excavation site and talk to the archaeologists with the aim of deciding if the site would make an interesting location for filming. To begin with the site doesn’t look promising, however once the team start looking a bit more closely at the background to the artefacts they realise that even the most mundane objects can tell amazing stories.
The found objects in this unit operate as ‘bridges’ into the past. Creating opportunities for the children to engage in learning and experiences both from the points of view of the history research team and the Anglo-Saxon people who lived in the settlement.
This unit works across the curriculum, creating opportunities for students to:
– apply their imagination, reasoning and inquiry skills
– acquire and apply history skills and develop knowledge and understanding.
– develop knowledge, skills and understanding in areas of history, geography, science, art and design, design technology, music, and ICT as well as skills in English and maths.

As a Word document 692KB 62 Pages
As a PDF 848KB


1. Resources for team noticeboard
2. BBC commission letter
3. BBC Information sheets for different episodes
4. Map of the archeology site
5. Archeologist’s notes
6. Archeology slide-show
7. (Optional) a collection of ropes, tape, trowels and other tools used by the archeology team
8. Mind map
9. Settlement Tasks
10.  Anglo-Saxon planning grid

Books and Links
Dr Brian Knapp – Anglo-Saxon Raiders and Settlers
Neil Tonge – Anglo-Saxons – The History Detective
Hazel Maskell & Dr Abigail Wheatley – Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

Background History for teacher research
Michael Drout – The Modern Scholar: The Anglo-Saxon World (Audio Book)
Grant Allen – Anglo-Saxon Britain (Kindle – Free)
Nicholas Higham – The Anglo-Saxon World
James Campbell – The Anglo-Saxons

Battlefield Brittan: Battle of Hastings – BBC Documentary on YouTube (60 mins.)

Primary History: Anglo-Saxons – with videos
Anglo-Saxons – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BBC – Primary History – Anglo-Saxons – with Dig it Up video game
BBC – Teacher’s Resources
BBC – History: Anglo-Saxons
Saxons Homework Help for Kids

Sutton Hoo
Sutton Hoo – Visitor information – National Trust
The Sutton Hoo Society
Sutton Hoo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
British Museum – Sutton Hoo
Images for sutton hoo
AD 700 – Sutton Hoo
BBC – Primary History – World History – Sutton Hoo Helmet
BBC Podcast – A History of the World: Sutton Hoo helmet
BBC Suffolk: The Anglo-Saxon finds at Sutton Hoo
Early British Kingdoms for Kids – Sutton Hoo

Staffordshire Hoard

Beowulf – Michael Morpurgo –

AD 700 – Sutton Hoo
BBC History: Archaeology

Anglo-Saxon Wikipedia
Monarchs and kingdoms:
English Monarchs:
Wessex Family Tree:
Timeline of Conflict:
Staffordshire Hoard:
Venerable Bede:

Anglo-Saxon YouTube
Saxon Hoard – Saxon Hoard A Golden Discovery:


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