CBA Festival of Archaeology a great success in Winchester

2015 saw the National Festival of Archaeology co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) celebrate its 25th year. Hundreds of events were on offer nationwide, organised by museums, heritage organisations, national and country parks, universities, local societies, and community archaeologists. Thousands of people were involved in events across the UK designed to bring archaeology to life.

Visitors excavating artefacts at the ‘Be an archaeologist’ day at Winchester Discovery Centre. © Hampshire Cultural Trust

In Winchester, the Hampshire Cultural Trust teamed up with the Winchester Excavations Committee to organise three events across the city.

Bishop Tim Dakin gives the walking tour a special treat by opening the Bishop’s Water Gate, which links the Cathedral and Wolvesey Palace.

‘Be an archaeologist’ day at the Winchester Discovery Centre

We started the festival with a drop-in session at the Discovery Centre on Saturday 11th July. This family friendly event was very well attended and allowed people of all ages to experience life as an archaeologist. Various activities were on offer including drawing, sorting, identifying and recording real archaeological finds from excavations in and around Winchester.

Archaeological walking tours of Winchester with Professor Martin Biddle

On Saturday 18th July Martin Biddle led an archaeological walking tour of Winchester. This proved so popular that a second tour was held on Saturday 15th August to meet demand. The walk, which started at The Great Hall, explored the Anglo-Saxon streets, the Anglo-Saxon Cathedral of Old Minster and New Minster, and the Bishop’s palace at Wolvesey, and ended with a private view and (well-needed!) light refreshments at the City Museum. An excellent and thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all.

Visitors handling artefacts at the Fascinating Finds Day at Winchester City Museum. © Hampshire Cultural Trust

Fascinating finds day at the City Museum

A drop-in session at the City Museum marked the end of the official two weeks of the festival. Attendees were able to handle archaeological objects from the collections with the museum’s curators on hand to answer questions.

All three events provided an excellent opportunity for members of the public to find out more about archaeology in Winchester and explore some of the excellent finds in the archaeology collections.

At the site of Old Minster. By kind permission of the Dean, visitors were allowed onto the Cathedral Green to see the site of Old Minster at close hand.
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