CBA Festival of Archaeology

Fancy learning how to become a knight, doing some cave painting or maybe even have a go at digging? Well you don't have to wait for Heritage Open Days to start exploring, these are just some of the great ways you can discover more about the history of your local area, or somewhere new, with this summer's Festival of Archaeology. It's all about to kick off so let's kick up some dust, sound the fanfare and make a fuss as Claire from the CBA's Festival Team tells us what to look out for this summer!

Claire Corkill, Development Manager at the Council for British Archaeology


Exploring Local Places is the theme for this year’s CBA Festival of Archaeology which takes place across the UK from 17 July to 1 August. With over 300 live online and in person events to choose from there are plenty of opportunities to discover the archaeology and heritage that is all around you. This year we are encouraging you to head out and explore your local places, to discover stories, sites, buildings, places, people and events that make our local communities so special.  

Alongside our live events this year we have created a brand new resources area on the Festival website which has a whole range of activities you can access all year round. With over 170 resources we have everything from recorded talks and podcasts for you to enjoy from the comfort of home to craft activities for all ages to enjoy and plenty of self-guided walks to help you continue exploring local places long after Festival fortnight has ended.  

Wait a minute... what's the CBA? CBA is the Council for British Archaeology, a UK wide charity which aims to enable anyone to have the skills and opportunity to tell the stories of the people and places that connect us to our world, that help us understand it and to make it a better, more inclusive place.    

Take a tour and discover more at Abbeyfield Pumping Station / © Chris Allen, wikicommons

Some festival highlights

Historical health check

CBA launch event

Join us at the Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester for a day themed around health and medicine. Discover medieval remedies with our reenactor, find out all about the recent excavations at The Waterside, including medieval mass graves from the Black Death and explore the impact of Victorian ingenuity on the health of the city’s inhabitants with a tour of the Pumping Station. We will also be joined on the day by archaeologist and TV presenter Raksha Dave (Digging Up Britain’s Past, Time Team) who will be sharing some of the highlights of her career and telling us about some of the local places most important to her.

Connecting with young voices

Shout Out Loud events

This year we are really pleased to be hosting events for young people delivered by CBA as part of the English Heritage led Shout Out Loud project. Including this one designed for 12-18 year olds: Fashion and Place: how has the fashion industry and the natural environment shaped one another? Visitors to Stott Park Bobbin Mill in Cumbria will explore how the 19th century textile industry has shaped the natural environment around the mill and how nature has inspired fashion design.

Turn up the heat at Hengistbury Head / © Valeryna, Pixabay

Turn up the temperature!

The Shaping of Molten Metal! Bronze Casting - Performing The Past at Hengistbury Head

Always wondered how Bronze Age tools were made? Now is your chance to find out with this fantastic event at Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve, Bournemouth. Help the site’s Assistant Curator work his magic by alloying and casting some bronze tools and objects. Don’t live near Bournemouth? That’s not a problem, you can watch the activity from home via a live stream.

Discovery on Your Doorstep

Lecture by Professor Carenza Lewis

As part of the Scarborough Big Ideas By The Sea Festival, Professor Carenza Lewis will show how the finds from test pits can tell new stories and connect places like Scarborough with events as varied as the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Norman Conquest and the Black Death. 

Doorstep Discoveries with Prof Carenza Lewis / © Carenza Lewis


Oswestry Hill Fort

Creative engagement at Oswestry's Hillfort is the theme of this exhibition which takes place throughout the Festival. Find out about the creative journey of a dozen local artists and creative practitioners as they have been inspired by Old Oswestry hillfort as a historic place, a local landmark, and a focus for protest against nearby development. Through works old and new, in print, on canvas, in songs and poetry, the Creativity Group explores what Old Oswestry hillfort means to the local community, why it is important and why they continue to respond creatively to it.

Ask An Archaeologist Day

Is there something you have always wanted to know about archaeology? On Wednesday 21st July you have the chance to put your questions to archaeologists around the world as part of Ask An Archaeologist Day. This event takes place on Twitter and to get involved all you need to do is post your question and tag @AskAnArchDay and include the #AskAnArchaeologist hashtag. 

Find out more