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Festival of Archaeology 2013

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
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Dusting the Cobwebs off History


Buried for centuries, the secrets of Britain's past are hidden beneath our streets. Archaeology teams dig and dig and dig, and yet there is always more to be discovered. You can make discoveries for yourself during this year's Festival of Archaeology 2013. There are over a thousand activities going on across the UK between the 13th-28th July such as hands-on workshops that include pottery, calligraphy, and archery, as well as the opportunity to volunteer and take part in excavations. There will also be talks, exhibitions, open days, tours, and lots more.

Free Events

History and Archaeology
13th & 14th July
Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 4TF

Browse and handle a display of archaeological artefacts that were discovered under Wandsworth's Southside Shopping Centre, and try on some Roman armour.

Roman Bath House
13th & 14th July
Poverest Road, St Mary Cray, Orpington

Visit the Roman Bath House and Anglo-Saxon Cemetery fun family activities and a historical trail.

The Rose Revealed
13th-27th July
56 Park Street, Bankside, Southwark, London, SE1 9AS

The Rose is planning an archaeological dig conservation display the most important of Elizabethan theatres. Although the project won't start until 2014, it is a chance to see what is being planned.

Archaeology in Wanstead Park
13th - 28th July
The Temple, Wanstead Park. London, E11 2LT

There will be a number of archaeology-themed events including a conservation exhibition, and afternoon tea.

Union Chapel
14th July
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2RP

As well as guided tours, the day will also be an organ recital, and an organ workshop. Learn about the science of sound, and how to play. You need to book in advance by calling 020 7359 4019.

Loseley Park House
14th July
Loseley Park, Stakescorner Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1HS

You will be able to have a go at dowsing, a technique using a forked stick to search for water and mineral deposits.

Ice Well Open Day
14th & 28th July
London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London, N1 9RT

Take a tour beneath the London Canal Museum and visit the Victorian ice wells. Learn about the conservation of the site, and the ice trade from Norway to King's Cross between 1857-1904.

Beneath Our Feet & My Roman Britain
17th & 19th July, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Gallery talks by Katharine Hoare at the British Museum.

The Egypt Exploration Society
18th-25th July
3 Doughty Mews, London, WCIN 2PE

The Egypt Exploration Society are running film screenings, open house tours, and lectures.

Lumley Chapel
20th July
The Lumley Chapel, Church Road, Cheam, SM3 8QH

In a guided tour around Lumley Chapel you will see the remains of tenth century Saxon fabric, monuments, and the resting place of the John Lord Lumley and his family.

Excavating Richmond
25th July
Museum of Richmond, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP

Visit the Museum of Richmond and discover some fascinating finds.

The Secret Museum
16th-21st July
150 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN

Get an exclusive behind the scene tour of stores and laboratories at the Museum of London and the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre. You need to book in advance by calling 020 7001 9844.

Roman Discovery Day
27th July
Museum of Richmond, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP

A drop in day at the Museum of Richmond will be fun for the whole family, with Roman artefacts, replica costumes, and games.

Merton Priory Chapter House
27th & 28th July
The Chapter House, Merton Abbey Mills, Merantun Way, London, SW19 2RD

merton priory chapter house
Coffin in Merton Priory


Visit the Merton Priory Chapter House for one of its rare open days. It was one of the country's most important monastic houses before 1538, where Thomas Becket trained, the Statutes of Merton were formulated, and Merton College Oxford founded.

Tower of London Archaeology Weekend
27th & 28th July
HM Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB

Displays, talks, family activities, and access to the Tower's river foreshore for a hands-on archaeology dig.

Carshalton Water Tower & Hermitage
28th July
Carshalton Water Tower, West Street, Carshalton, SM5

carshalton Water Tower, hermitage


Visit the Carshalton Water Tower & Hermitage for a tour of the 18th century orangery, saloon, bathroom, and pump chamber.


Worth a Few Bob

Shakespeare's Shoreditch
13th July, 5

Take a Shakespearean-themed guided tour around the streets of Shoreditch. Explore the theatres, plays, and people of the sixteenth century.

Archaeology For All
14th July, 8 adult, 6 child
Discover Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10 9NN

Learn how to sort and identify archaeological objects on the foreshore of the River Thames.

House Mill
15th July, 10

The day will include three talks, lunch, and a tour.

Death on the Thames
16th July, 6

See and learn about the human remains found in the River Thames.

Tower Beach Walk
26th July, 6
Queens Stairs, Tower of London, EC3N 4AB

Get exclusive access to the Tower of London Beach for a guided walk & talk.

Bones in the Basement
27th July, 5 child, free for adults
Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NF

Children can explore Benjamin Franklin House, learn about its archaeological history, the history of medicine, discover why human bones were found in the basement, and create their own excavation pit.

Londinium: The Roman City
27th July, 7
All Hallows by the Tower, Byward Street, London, EC3R 5BJ

Take a tour of All Hallows by the Tower, starting with an introductory session in the Crypt Museum. Your guide will cover nearly four hundred years of Roman rule before taking you to some of the best preserved stretches of the Roman city wall, Forum, Basilica, Amphitheatre, and Fort. The tour will end at the Museum of London.

Time Travellers Go...Awesome Archaeology!
28th July, 9.90 adult, 8.90 concession, 5.90 child
Eltham Palace and Gardens, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE

Fun activities for kids with an archeological sandpit dig, and other activities, where they can collect stickers.

If you live outside London, check out what's going on near you.
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Why? Fun for families
When: 13th-28th July
Phone: 01904 671 417
Where: Across the UK
Cost: Free-10
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