Presentation of a Gallic doorway by Gabriel-Fauré collège's 5ème 3 class

The ceremony in which Ms Nabila Souabertook's 5ème 3 class of 12 to 13 year-olds officially handed over the door to ArkéoTopia, an alternative approach to archaeology took place in the late afternoon of 20th November 2012 at the secondary school collège Gabriel-Fauré (75013). The ceremony brought an end to a series of workshops and presentations which took place in early 2012 within the remit of a Cultural and Artistic Project (Projet Culturel et Artistique - PAC) around the theme of Celtic culture, in which raising awareness of scientific culture and techniques were given pride of place.

CGF121120_porte00Why doors?

ArkéoTopia was called in to introduce a scientific dimension to the literary dimension of a project about Celtic tales and legends led by Ms Nabila Souaber (English teacher) and Ms Monique Ivorra (French teacher). Thanks to Ms Souaber's energy and Mr Fabien Garnier's (technology teacher) open-mindedness, Celtic archaeology seminars project had a wide scope right from the start. Besides the 7, 2-hour long seminars developed by Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond and given by Chloé Schmidt, which enabled scientific culture to be discovered through archaeology and Celtic heritage in parallel with associated English vocabulary, the pupils in class 5ème 3 were guided through the exhibition The Incredible Gauls (Gaulois, une exposition renversante) at the Cité des Sciences, and went to Dublin (Ireland) for a unique language study trip. Added to this was the opportunity to link theory and practice through experimental work.

This is how, under Mr Garnier's direction and using data seen in English lessons, the pupils in class 5ème 3, split into two teams, made two doors over several sessions in order to verify a scientific hypothesis. As described in Patrice Brun's book Celtic princes and princesses. The first Iron Age 850-450 B.C. (1987), could the long gallic pin found in Zurich be a door key? Of course, this school-book example mainly enabled pupils to be led to use critical thinking and make connections between subjects which are usually separate.

Although, despite the use of a Scientist's Log Book, work still remains to be done towards a perfect understanding of the difference between artisanal and scientific production, the project has not only enabled the use of cross competences, but has also contributed to the development of collaboration between pupils. ArkéoTopia wanted to extend the purpose of the doors outside of collège Gabriel-Fauré during its educational activities at local and national events, with the aim of adding value to the work. This is how, in agreement with the teachers, a closing session for the project accompanied by an official ceremony was planned. In the new school year, under Mr Garnier's directions, pupils from another class made small commemorative plaques for the event. And On Tuesday 20th November, at around 6.30pm, everyone involved in the 2012 project presented a photo story and a summary of their work. To end the meeting, the two doors were presented, the locking mechanism activated demonstrating the keys and affixed plaques, and one of the two doors was officially handed over to ArkéoTopia, an alternative approach to archaeology.

By going beyond the teachers' development of the project, we were careful to emphasise once again how important this door is to us. It is a symbol of an exchange between two worlds which may appear to be different, but are not. Science and technique, theory and practice, intellectual skills and manual skills are inextricably linked. In this respect, archaeology is the limit or frontier which restores the line between these two dimensions as a scientific discipline requiring intellect for analysis and manual skills for validation through experimentation, in order to resolve the questions handed down to us by societies of the past. What better symbol of the importance of the past as a tool to help prepare the future than school children presenting a door, the fruit of their work based around the theme of Celtic Ireland, originating from at an English teacher's request. Indeed, it was by making these young people carry out a piece of work about the past that they unknowingly contributed to preparing their future. They can thank their teachers for this and their commemorative plaques will serve as a reminder.

flechd See a presentation of the project's most important moments on Class Dublin's blog
flechd The pupils of class 5ème 3 at collège Gabriel-Fauré, "Secondary school pupils in the Celts’ shoes" (Des collégiens dans les pas des celtes), Arkéo Junior 199, September 2012.
flechd Find out about ArkéoTopia through images or get to know us better with this short presentation

Don't hesitate to contact us by email at or by telephone at +33 (0)6 22 03 32 33..

The commemorative plaque made under the supervision of Fabien Garnier
Reading of the article published in ArkéoJunior by Ryan Nabila Souaber’s presentation of the publicaiton in ArkéoJunior Thanks to the parents who were present at the ceremony  
Group 1 affix the plaque onto the door they made with Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond’s help Group 2 affix the plaque onto the door they made with Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond’s help
J.-O. Gransard-Desmond, ArkéoTopia's president’s
speech presenting a summary of the class project and the future of the children's work.

Unless otherwise mentioned, photographs are © Esnault Chris, November 2012..

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