The Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology 2020 is going digital, with two weeks of exciting events celebrating on-the-ground archaeology under the theme ‘Climate and Environment’!

At Wessex Archaeology, we are delighted to be the chosen partner, delivering the two parts to the festival:

  • 11 – 19 July, focusing on digital events
  • 24 October – 1 November, offering events to view real-time archaeology

The festival kicked off with a special online launch event on Saturday 11 July at 11am with the webinar Discover Environmental Archaeology, featuring Time Team and Wessex Archaeology archaeologist, Dr Phil Harding exploring the basics of environmental archaeology. This was followed by an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Wessex Archaeology’s environmental laboratory.

A successful start to the Festival of Archaeology – online A successful start to the Festival of Archaeology – online

Other sessions included an in-depth webinar on environmental archaeology: The Domestication of Plants and New Discoveries about the First Cereals in Britain; a practical workshop for children and young people: Archaeology 3D: learn how archaeologists recreate past landscapes and turn ecofacts into 3D models; and a student careers session.

The launch day is now being followed by a week of free digital sessions for the public to join with something to interest all ages and abilities – find out more here!

Other highlights from the Wessex Archaeology Festival Programme include A Potted History – the Iron Age / Roman transition in Hampshire, a collaboration with Hampshire Cultural Trust. This series of short films is being released throughout this week, culminating in a live question and answer session on Friday 17 July, 12.30-1.30pm. The videos can be viewed on the Culture on Call blog. Sign up for the Q&A and submit your questions in advance here.

A potted history

Wessex Archaeology’s digital events programme for the Festival of Archaeology will conclude with a family friendly story telling session; Arno the Archaeologist. The story and illustrations were created by Wessex Archaeology staff to introduce archaeology to children under 7, both at home and in schools. The production will premiere on the Wessex Archaeology YouTube channel on Saturday 18th July at 9am.

Arno the Archaeologist

Wessex Archaeology Community & Education Manager Samuel Fieldhouse said:

“Wessex Archaeology is thrilled to be working with the CBA to plan an engaging programme of online events and resources. Our activities have a broad enough range so that there is something for everyone, from toddlers to professional archaeologists. The digital nature of this year’s festival and our partnership with the CBA gives Wessex Archaeology the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than previous years and we find that very exciting.”

Council for British Archaeology Executive Director Neil Redfern said:

“Archaeology has always responded to the world in which we exist, and this year is no different. By hosting a digital festival, we hope to bring something new and dynamic to how we engage and participate as archaeologists. We want to go beyond just cancelling or postponing our summer event to ensure that an important date in many people’s diaries remains at this crucial time for all those working, volunteering, or studying in the archaeology sector.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said:

“We’re pleased that part of this year’s festival has become digital. Not only does this help people to access archaeology at a time when for many of us there is no other way, it also helps increase understanding of what we can learn from archaeology. By telling us about where we have come from, it helps to shape the direction we might take.”

English Heritage Head of Learning and Interpretation Dr Dominique Bouchard said:

“The Climate and Environment theme is the perfect subject matter to introduce archaeology to young people, and to inspire them to take a lifelong interest in it. The Shout Out Loud programme was established to help bring youth voices, ideas and creativity to the fore, and the digital Festival of Archaeology offers young people the chance to show how archaeology has something to offer everyone.”

The Festival is the largest annual festival to celebrate archaeological heritage in the UK. Now in its 29th year, the Festival of Archaeology has grown from a single day to a two-week event which is normally held in July.

Discover the full line up of Wessex Archaeology's events here.