09 Jul 2024
by Debbie Frearson

Older man in high vis showing a younger man and child a small object. Knelt on ground by a pit in front of a grand house.
Visitors enjoy discovering what lies beneath at a Festival of Archaeology event on the Wimpole Estate (©National Trust Images/Mike Selby)

Through the Festival of Archaeology, the CBA (Council for British Archaeology) helps over half a million people to participate in archaeology, explore stories of place, and connect with the environment around them. 

Why I love it

Archaeology started as an interest for me but has developed into a career, and the Festival embodies everything I love about it. It is all about grass roots organisations and individuals showcasing what they are passionate about and are actively doing, alongside the professional and commercial organisations showcasing their skills. It is a window into archaeology for the world to look through and enjoy as a one off or through continued participation as a new or seasoned follower.

Who’s involved?

The Festival incorporates hundreds of in-person and virtual events delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, commercial units, and more. From my background in outreach I particularly love working with smaller groups and seeing them grow - a case in point is Hallaton Museum. They initially started with a single event and struggled to navigate our old website, which was a challenge, but we were able to give one to one training online and now they have so many events it is difficult to keep up!   
Group of people on a guided tour stopped on paved area beside a small building.
Take a walk with the team from Hallaton Museum to explore the area's rich heritage this July.

What’s involved?

The festival has hundreds of in-person and virtual events to choose from but there’s even more to explore! You can get involved from wherever you are, all year round, through our wide range of downloadable resources. Or try one of our special programmes for more of a taste of an archaeologist’s work with “A Day in Archaeology” or “Youth Day".

Some of my favourite parts of the job is being able to deliver our Theme Day. Each year we have a Festival theme that allows us to explore and present a more creative side of our world. Last year I curated an online gallery and interviewed amazing artists as well as offering a Haiku competition, some of which had us in stitches, others were very poignant.  This year we will be offering a comic drawing session, map and trail creation as well as a photography competition.

What next?

This year’s festival runs from 13th -28th July.  Here are some of the highlights mentioned above, but there are so many more!

After the festival, the fun and discovery continues  - Heritage Open Days will have lots of archaeological events in September and the CBA will be hosting the Archaeological Achievement Awards.  The CBA also have lots of resources available throughout the year, such as guided trails, how to record a building, how to dig your own test pit  and a new mapping tool in partnership with Geovay which will continue to be added to by community groups.

Find out more

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