Get hands on with heritage in the Festival of Archaeology

Friday 27 June 2014

Experience heritage in a hands-on way this summer in an extravaganza of heritage workshops and demonstrations as part of the Festival of Archaeology which takes place from 12-27 July.

Two members of the Women’s Land Army at Lamphey Bishop’s Palace

Two members of the Women’s Land Army at Lamphey Bishop’s Palace

Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, together with its partner organisations, is running a fortnight long series of special events across Wales as part of the Festival of Archaeology, ranging from excavations and invasions of Roman forts, guided tours of historic churches, and family fun days at a variety of historic sites.

The Festival of Archaeology is a UK-wide annual extravaganza of heritage events, showcasing the very best of British archaeology. The festival, which is co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology, encourages everyone to explore the archaeology of their local area, watch experts at work, and experience archaeology for themselves.

Read the programme of Festival of Archaeology events in Wales in the PDF below

The Festival launches with a 40s and Forces event at Lamphey Bishops Palace. Visitors will be encouraged to step back in time to meet American GIs and the Women’s Land Army. The alternative history of the stunning medieval bishop’s palace will be explored as the role of the South Pembrokeshire, and Lamphey itself, in the Normandy landings is explored.

The Festival also includes a Roman invasion at Segontium Roman Fort in Caernarfon on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 July. Segontium was the military and administrative centre of North wales throughout the Roman occupation. It controlled access to the rich fertile lands of Mona and was part of a series of forts linked by a startegic road network and supported by a legionary base at Chester. It is unique in Wales as its very important strategic position meant that it was occupied for over 300 years, later providing defence against Irish raiders and pirates.

The Roman invasion weekend at Segontium is packed with living history events. Meet Roman characters and learn the fascinating truth about how they lived. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of life during the time in fun activities for all the family.

For those who prefer active pursuits, the Festival of Archaeology also offers guided walks and the opportunity to explore historic landscapes. Learning ancient crafts, speaking to history experts and Interpreting history through art are just some of the fascinating and fun activities that are available at a number of Cadw sites across the country during the Festival.

Travel back to Victorian times at Castell Coch during the Festival as a reconstruction of an excavations carried out by G.T.Clark in 1850 is carried out. These excavations segmented two periods in the history of the castle as while it is based on medieval lower levels and foundations, it is a Victorian re-build on its upper levels. Both of these periods in the castle’s history will be brought to life as visitors will also be encouraged to uncover the items that belonged to the castle’s medieval occupants and learn their uses in the archaeology activities.

The Festival culminates on the weekend of 26 and 27 July. Oystermouth Castle hosts a fascinating medieval fun day during this weekend where visitors can transform into an archaeologist for a day. Budding archaeologists can handle ancient artefacts, discover more about the intriguing recent excavations at the sites and even attempt their own excavation.

A unique opportunity to record rock art at the atmospheric Bryn Celli Ddu site is also available at the close of the festival.  Assist in a digital community project to create a 3D model of this prehistoric site which forms part of the Heritage Together project.

Archaeology for All
12 July, 10.30am–5pm
Organised by the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, this event will provide free, hands-on fun for all ages. A day of living history, children’s events, demonstrations and talks — and a chance to meet local history and heritage societies.

Ynyslas World War II Guided Walk
19 July, 11am–1pm
The Ynsylas dunes were an important centre for rocket testing and innovation towards  the end of the Second World War. This guided tour of the archaeological remains will help you get a sense of the importance and scale of the military operations conducted here.

Coastal Heritage of Borth and Ynyslas
19 July, 6–8pm
The Coastal Heritage of Borth and Ynyslas is a year-long project ending in September 2014. To mark the ear completion of the project, the Royal Commission will be hosting an evening of talks by experts about the archaeology and history of Borth and Ynyslas, as well as showcasing the results of what the project has achieved.

Life Before Shopping – Swansea Museum
23 July 10am-4pm
In this interesting exhibition at Swansea Museum, the Glamorgan- Gwent Archaeological Trust will be running a series of workshops on prehistoric crafts. What did people do when they wanted new clothes but didn’t have any shops to go too? This, and other interesting questions and activities, will be available to all in the last week of the Festival.