Saturday 14th to Sunday 29th of July will offer you a host of events, activities and sites to take part in, visit and enjoy, at Britain’s Festival of Archaeology. Wait! Before you yawn about men in tweed taking two years to uncover a single layer of earth floor, think again…
Archaeology has a pretty mixed understanding, from Lara Croft through to dull experts pottering over fields drawing rocks. Somewhere in-between comes Time Team, who mix tweed, jumpers, hair and sometimes not finding much of public interest, alongside the drama of limited time and the occasional unexpected gem. None of these are of course the reality of archeological work, which it’s hard to explain to the general public. Archaeologist: “I’ve been here up a hill for two weeks, and having now found a scatter of worked quartz it makes the aching back, bad weather, hours of recording work, camping, mud and of food worthwhile – because someone lived here!” Public: “And that’s important to me because?... Can I see a mummy or Saxon helmet now please?”
Dig at Caerleon
We can all appreciate the monuments and great finds, things that stand out to be seen and explored with large rocks or horded gold. We can also appreciate living history, they may be nutters who prefer trying to cook on a spit and wear itchy pants, but the kids enjoy it. The Festival of Archaeology gives you that and a chance to look deeper, you can tour buildings, see into museum stores and meet nutters, but also experience digs in action, talk to the people doing the work, and find out how that grubbing around helps us understand much of our development as a society.
There are so many talks, walks, tours, re-enactments, hands on experiences, activities and unusual opportunities that you’re spoilt for choice. So in July do just one thing you wouldn’t usually, and be surprised how interesting the muddy, recording and analysing parts of archaeology can be.
Find out what’s on around the country using the Council for British Archaeology’s nifty map and search tool.
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