Festival of Archaeology

This year’s Festival of Archaeology will take place from 17 July to 1 August and it will showcase how you can get involved in archaeology in your local area. Coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), hundreds of events and activities will be delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, and commercial units.

Learn about the history and heritage on your own doorstep; engage in virtual talks, guided walks, re-enactments of historical events, and much more – there are ways for all ages to get involved. This selection features just a few of the hundreds of options on offer – for more details about the Festival of Archaeology and the full programme of events, please visit https://festival.archaeologyuk.org.


A Search for a Theatre – the return
Burrs Playing Field, Brough
25 July
After last year’s initial search for a Roman theatre in the lost civitas of Petuaria, the team returns for a second time to find out the truth beneath the turf on the playing field in Brough on Humber. Join the second week of their dig as they start to build up the most comprehensive picture of Petuaria in 100 years. You can also visit the site on 10 July for the Roman festival.


Guided walk to the 1,200-year-old remains of Wat’s Dyke earthworks
Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, Flintshire
18 July, 11am-12.30pm/2-3.30pm
Join a gentle walk through the beautiful, wooded valley to a well-preserved section of Wat’s Dyke, the 49-mile-long Anglo-Saxon earthwork to Maesbury. Discover the recent excavations carried out by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, where you’ll find the latest information and results of the excavations. When you return, you’ll be able to take in the other National Monuments in the Valley. (Distance approximately 1.5 miles.)


Cresswell Pele Tower – back and under attack!
Cresswell Pele Tower, Cresswell, Morpeth
17 July, 2-4pm & 18 July, 11am-4pm
Come along to investigate the fantastic restoration of the 14th-century tower, and hear the historic story of Cresswell, from the Bronze Age to the present. Reivers will once again be laying siege to the building, bringing the site to life with muskets, costumes, and cookery. There will also be guided walks and medieval tile-making.


From Coccium to Coal Miners
Stairgate, Wigan
20 July, 10.30am-12pm, 25 July, 2-3.30pm & 29 July, 2.30-4pm
Head to Wigan for a guided heritage tour and enjoy the history and archaeology surrounding King Street Heritage Action Zone, including the narrow old streets with traditional cobbled surfaces.

Photo: Cresswell Pele Tower CIO.

(Please note that this event may be difficult for those with mobility issues and a challenge to manage young children safely.)


Dig It!
17-25 July, 11am-1pm
Get the kids involved with the Festival of Archaeology in Leicester by joining Dig It!, a project that allows children to learn the basics of archaeology and uncover hidden artefacts in mini archaeology dig pits. True to any real archaeological dig, any finds will need to be recorded.

Photo: King Richard III Visitor Centre.


A Pig of a Past
East Finchley, London
17-18 July, 10.30am-4.30pm
Get your hands dirty and join an archaeological project in East Finchley. You can get involved and dig three test-pits in an area that may have medieval origins and was part of a famous Hog Market.


Explore a Protected Historic Wreck
Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne
30 July, 7.30am
Who said archaeology was just digging? Get your scuba gear on, and dive two of the UK’s protected wrecks in one day. Take a look at the Holland 5 submarine, followed by the trail around the cannon on the 17th-century wreck site in Normans Bay. Divers will receive a thorough dive briefing and archaeological site briefing before each dive, so you will know what to look out for and have an understanding of the underwater site and history. Please note that minimum dive qualifications apply.

Photo: Nautical Archaeology Society.


Berry Castle Hillfort, Torrington
25 July, 11am-12pm/2-3pm
Find out more about Berry Castle and join a guided walk with the Friends of Berry Castle. Discover Iron Age stories as well as learning about the work being undertaken to maintain and preserve Berry Castle for the future.


Student Takeover Day
26 July
Hear from archaeology students on their experiences at university at the Student Takeover Day. The day focuses on showcasing the importance of an archaeological degree and how it has allowed students to follow a wide range of career paths after university. If you are interested in Student Takeover Day, follow the CBA’s social media channels to keep up to date with the latest information.

21 July
Ask An Archaeologist is back this year! Get your questions ready to be answered by archaeologists from across the UK during this live Twitter event. Visit the Festival of Archaeology website for more information.

Festivals in previous years have hosted child-friendly science-themed activities and (opposite page, top left) Roman displays.

Online events and digital resources

Not quite ready to get involved with events on the ground? The Festival of Archaeology has a multitude of digital resources and activities that will enable you to discover more about archaeology and heritage. They include:

20 Years of the Hallaton Treasure
Join the Harborough Museum online as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hallaton Treasure being found. An internationally important Iron Age and Roman hoard, the Hallaton Treasure includes over 5,000 coins and a unique 1st-century AD Roman cavalry helmet.
To join their online activities, or find out more about the Treasure, head to the Festival of Archaeology website and click on ‘Do it yourself activities and resources’.