The Festival of Archaeology, coordinated yearly by the Council for British Archaeology, showcases the very best of British archaeology by presenting special events hosted by museums, heritage organisations, universities, societies and community archaeologists all over the UK.
As our contribution to this year’s festival, Dorset County Museum will host a variety of events including Viking re-enactments and a rare opportunity to tour the Museum’s archaeology store. “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see a whole range of artefacts that aren’t normally on display,“ said Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum. “In the past these tours completely sold out as so many people were interested in coming along – we hope it will be even more popular this year.“
Visitors to the museum can also see the newly refurbished Ancient Dorset gallery which tells the fascinating story of the past of the ancient peoples living in this county, from the Lower Palaeolithic Age 3 million years ago to 1066AD. With a brand new display of the recently discovered mass Viking burial discovered on the Ridgeway outside Weymouth.
Events at the Museum:
- Tuesday 19 and 26th July – Tour of the archaeology store in All Saint’s Church, High East Street, Dorchester. See behind the scenes and experience some of the millions of objects we don’t have space to normally display. Tours will commence from the Museum at: 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Places limited, booking is essential. Normal admission prices apply.
- Wedneday 20 July – Archaeology Day will be held at the Museum with activities throughout the day, including displays, hands on archaeology and meet the experts, mini-talks and the finds ID surgery. Bring in objects you have found – coins, buckles, pottery, anything! Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be able to explain what they are. The Finds ID Surgery is at 10.30am and 2pm, and you will need to book. All other activities will happen through the day and you can just drop in. Normal admission prices apply.
- Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July – History is being brought to life as the Vikings invade Dorset County Museum! Come and meet the Vikings from 11am until 4pm. Witness hand to hand combat, visit craftspeople to find out how chain mail and fishing nets were made, watch Norse cooking demonstrations, mint a Viking coin and listen to exciting Viking sagas full of adventure. Normal admission prices apply.
- Wednesday 27 July – Roman Dorchester a rare chance to visit inside one of the best-preserved Roman Town Houses in Britain and see the beautiful mosaic floors at close range. Tours will commence from the Dorset County Museum at: 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Places limited, booking is essential. Normal admission prices apply.
- Saturday 30 July Family Archaeology Day will be held at the Museum with activities throughout the day suitable for younger visitors. Hands on activities and trails, and meet some archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology and Context One Archaeological Services. Find out about bones and how archaeologists use new technology with displays and mini-talks for the family. Normal admission prices apply.
- Festival of Archaeology – www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk
- Dorchester Roman Town House – www.dorsetforyou.com/roman-town-house
- Wessex Archaeology – www.wessexarch.co.uk
- Context One Archaeological Services – www.contextone.co.uk