Review: Treasure Clusters Historical Excavation Digging Kit

My favourite kind of history is the kind that places us directly in context to our ancestors. The shoe buckles, biscuit tins, coins and clothing that we see displayed in our museums represent fragments left behind of their everyday lives. The coins were once spent on ale, the shoes travelled miles on tired feet, and the now pitted and fragile swords and daggers once shone and flashed in the sunlight. I've managed to collect (and also been kindly gifted) a few artefacts at home, including a Roman coin, a fossil we found in the garden and a shard of Bronze Age pottery. But I often wish I could go out and find these items for myself, dig them up out of the soil where they were dropped hundreds - even thousands - of years ago. 

Luckily, Treasure Clusters has come up with a way you can feel some of the excitement of unearthing old artefacts at home, even if you have no digging or metal detectoring experience or equipment. You place an order online and receive a kit which includes a block containing a number of items along with digging tools - a hammer, chisel and a brush. The difference between this and other similar kits is that every single item has been unearthed by a metal detectorist and are all genuine artefacts found in the soil, no reproductions or modern replicas. This makes this, for anyone who loves history, super exciting, because you get the fun of digging them up yourself but also you get to keep all your exciting objects, too. Each kit also contains different items. 

On receiving the parcel, we got to work trying to uncover the items inside. I was told the kit was suitable for all ages, and although my fourteen and seventeen year olds were only casually interested to start with, they soon took turns chipping away the sandy 'earth' to discover what was inside. The first find was a Victorian penny, with the date 1901, in great condition. We unearthed our kits outside, and it wasn't as messy as I thought it might be, but if you're doing yours inside, put down a tablecloth you can shake out afterwards and maybe place the block on a piece of cardboard or paper to catch all the grains. 

The thrill of catching the first glimpse of a find sticking out of the block was really exciting, and there are no spoilers: you have no idea what is in your kit until they're dug out. As we picked out the remaining pieces we took a guess at identifying them, but when we finished we accessed our personal QR code which revealed what the items really were, along with some background. They ranged from Roman to the late twentieth century. I won't reveal all of them here in case your finds are similar but there were some really unusual ones, one of them I didn't even know was a thing! There was also a beautiful gilded piece of horse harness which I especially loved. 

At the time of this review, the kits are £16.99 + postage and packaging which is great value, considering the range and quality of the artefacts you receive in your block. The activity itself is easy and the digging tools are good quality, too. You also get a moment of being present and mindful while you chip out all the objects and guess at what they are as they emerge. We had a couple of questions which were answered by Treasure Clusters super quickly and helpfully. A really great idea, which could be applied to home as well as educational settings such as end of term and after school clubs. In a classroom setting, with the range and quantity of artefacts you receive in the block, you could even share one block between two, as children take it in turns to discover their finds. As for me, I'm so happy with all the lovely artefacts I now have, along with the memories of unearthing them on a sunny warm day in the garden! 

Sound like something you or a loved one would enjoy? You can order a kit for yourself at the Treasure Clusters website or Etsy Shop, and do give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram to show your support and keep updated with their news.

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