Trowels At The Ready For National Archaeology Week 2007

By Narelle Doe | 11 July 2007
photo of a young boy with gloves on digging into a low earth wall

The next Indiana Jones? There are plenty of activity days for children to get involved in, whether it's digging for treasure or cheering on their favourite gladiator. © CBA

If your knowledge of archaeology begins and ends with Indiana Jones, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) will be coming to your rescue during National Archaeology Week 2007.

With family-friendly days planned throughout the country from Saturday July 14 to Sunday July 22, the CBA is offering everyone the chance to learn more about their heritage, whether they’re paid-up members of Time Team or completely new to archaeology.

“National Archaeology Week is the CBA’s flagship event," said Mike Heyworth, CBA Director, "a national festival of archaeology with numerous events, which showcase the best of British archaeology and allow everyone to see archaeology in action.”

photograph of Roman re-renactors

If you go down to the woods today...you're likely to find a Roman encampment, a medieval fair or a Tudor tournament. The Roman Military Research Society. Picture Courtesy Isis PR

Whether your interests lie with Iron Age fortresses, Roman battles, medieval pageantry or Victorian costume, this annual event promises to provide something to interest everyone. See below for just a selection of the hundreds of events happening right across the UK between July 14 to July 22

Walks and Talks

Fancy a stroll down memory lane? There are plenty of walking tours planned throughout the UK; on July 14 from 11am to 12.15pm take a tour of Bath’s oldest working district, dating back to Roman times, with the Museum of Bath at Work.

Bring stout footwear to Cornwall’s Wheal Peevor, a unique, three engine house mine site, where experts will guide the tour on July 22 from 11am to 12.30pm.

For those feeling less energetic, a series of talks and lectures covering a wide range of topics is on offer.

Archaeologist and broadcaster Julian Richards will be sharing his vast knowledge of Britain’s most celebrated ancient monument, Stonehenge, on July 19 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm at the Stevenson Lecture Theatre at The British Museum, London.

A picture of re-enactors in full armour and swords locked in battle

There will be a chance to witness battles of all descriptions as Living History groups don armour all over the country to bring our past to life.

Children can experience life in a Roman Villa with a guided talk by the site archaeologist at Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington, Kent. Talks start at 11am and 2.30pm during a whole day of Roman-themed fun on July 15, 10am to 5pm,

To satisfy the more bloodthirsty amongst us, Shropshire’s Churches Conservation Trust is offering a free children’s battle anniversary tour, promising plenty of guts and gore. The event starts on the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury at 11am on July 21 and finishes at 12.30pm.

Ever wondered if your favourite action heroes are really as swashbuckling as they appear on film? ‘Fighting Talk: Warriors and Weapons’ welcomes Magnus Sigurdsson, master armourer, to talk about ancient weapons and Hollywood versus history.

This free family day at Hull and East Riding Museum, July 21 from 11am to 4pm, also gives aspiring stuntmen the chance to make an Anglo-Saxon shield or recreate the famous Coppergate Helmet found in York in 1982.

A photograph of volunteers participating on a organised dig

Ever wondered what it would be like to be on Time Team? A whole series of national organised digs during National Archaeology Week 2007 will give you the chance to find out. © Mansfield Museum

Digging the dirt

Budding Indiana Joneses can sample the real deal with digs happening throughout the country.

Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with The Newbarns Project in Dumfries and Galloway, where the excavation of two pre-historic burial cairns will take place from July 14 to July 22, 11am to 1pm, 2pm to 4.30pm.

Around 300 skeletons have already been excavated from a Mid-Saxon Christian cemetery in Norfolk. Sedgeford Historical Archaeological Research Project invites the public to search for more on July 15 to 20, 22 and 29, from 11am to 4pm.

Excavations on the Vindolanda Roman Fort in Northumberland continue throughout the summer. The fort lies just to the south of Hadrian’s Wall and Roman boots, shoes, armour, jewellery and coins have been uncovered in previous digs. Excavations are from July 14 to July 22, 10am to 4pm.

Archaeology doesn’t only happen on dry land. Discover sunken treasure at Lancaster Maritime Museum where real artefacts from Morecambe Bay will be examined, as well as the chance to prepare your own ‘underwater dig’. The event is on July 15, from 2pm to 4pm.

shows the remaons of skeleton in situ in an archeaological dig

The best thing about a dig is you never know what you might find. Previous discoveries have included anything from ancient pots, coins, jewellery, shoes, or even a skeleton.

Meet the ancestors

You don’t need a Tardis to travel back in time. Different themed days give visitors the chance to live like our ancestors with the help of a historical dressing-up box.

The Museum of Archaeology in Southampton is offering a free family drop-in day on July 21 from 10am to 3pm, where you can dress-up as a Roman, Saxon or Tudor person.

The Romans are coming to Salisbury, when the Legio Secunda Augusta Living History Society will be marching into Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. Meet the Roman soldiers, if you dare, on July 14 from 10am to 4pm.

At Carew Castle, in Wales, a Tudor Lord invites you to try your hand at archery and join in with the festivities of a Tudor tournament on July 21 to July 22, 10am to 4pm.

Beware the terrifying Viking Invaders at Whitby Abbey as they spread terror and turmoil with their raids on the north east coast. When they’ve calmed down, explore their encampments, witness grisly displays of combat and step inside a Viking longhouse.

The invasion is scheduled for July 21 to July 22, 11am to 5pm.

photograph of a man dressed as a Viking

A horde of Vikings are scheduled to invade our shores and bring the Viking culture back to life.

If that hasn’t made you reach for your metal detector then there are many more events guaranteed to whet your appetite. From puppet shows and storytelling to ancient arts and crafts, visitors will find themselves spinning wool, practising the art of dowsing, throwing clay pots, walking like an Egyptian or creating Roman mosaics.

Whether you’re exploring Stone Age caves by candlelight, delving in skeleton pits, visiting a Cold War atomic bunker or an ancient hill fort, there’s a chance for everyone to be a history detective and celebrate the nation’s past.

For full listings, including times and contact details for events, visit the CBA’s website.

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