Archaeology at the Omega Centre, Portsmouth

Wessex Archaeology in partnership with the Workers’ Educational Association



Project background

Wessex Archaeology and the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) are working together to bring a greater appreciation of the past to groups of adult learners who may have limited access to the heritage sector. Working in partnership, our joint aim is to introduce an interest in the past into peoples’ developing life skills, so helping them engage with their learning and increasing their sense of connection to their communities, their history and their place within the landscape. 


The partnership was launched with an Archaeology Day held at the WEA’s Omega Centre in Portsmouth on 8 February 2016, at which a memorandum of understanding was signed by the chief executives of the two organisations. The event was organised by Wessex Archaeology’s Community and Education Officer with the support and involvement of the WEA tutors. 
As part of the event eight archaeology-related topics, involving a range of objects and learning activities, were displayed around the centre. There was everything from a mammoth bone that could date back as far as 500,000 years, a 40,000-year-old flint axe, 2,000-year-old Roman coins and even a German Luftwaffe machine gun from World War II. Each topic offered the students a different opportunity to incorporate learning about the past into their Maths, English and Art lessons. 
This important event was very successful, with around 80 students attending, as well as volunteers, staff and invited guests. Among the guests was the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas, who talked about the city’s rich archaeological heritage, and Portsmouth South MP, Flick Drummond. 



The Archaeology Day at the Omega Centre marked the forging of an exciting new partnership between the heritage and learning sectors, and the start of an innovative project, stimulating people’s interest in the history of their communities and landscapes, so helping them engage with their adult learning and education.
With the help of Wessex Archaeology’s Graphics Team publicity materials and specialist educational materials, including on-line resources, have been created for the WEA tutors to use in their classrooms.
Due to the joint publicity strategy established by Wessex Archaeology and the WEA the event received very positive media coverage, while our Social Media team has provided updates on Facebook and Twitter and created a webpage on the Wessex Archaeology website.
A WEA tutor at the Omega Centre commented,
The event was very rewarding – for the students, volunteers and tutors. It encouraged us all to interact with each other, to learn about history and discover new ideas and objects from the past. Thank you.”