Heritage, history, and digging for gold: Festival of Archaeology comes to Lancashire
Lancashire is ancient. From the Iron Age stone huts at Warton Crag multivallate hillfort near Morecambe to the Church of Saint Stephen at Tockholes, a modern church built on the ancient medieval remains of two former churches dating back to the 7th and 19th centuries, the county boasts millions of historic gems just waiting to be uncovered.
Which is where the storied pursuit of archaeology comes in. The scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture, archaeology has unlocked thousands of ancient secrets across Lancashire, with new finds being made every year, each shining a new light on another facet of the rich history of the North West.
Reflecting the region’s wealth when it comes to archaeological pedigree, the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology is this month heading to the red rose county in order to encourage and enable all interested to take part in a journey of discovery. Running and hosting hundreds of local and online events from around the country, the festival is the UK’s biggest annual celebration of archaeology.
“I’m so excited for the return of the Festival of Archaeology for 2022, with more events and activities than ever before,” says Neil Redfern, the Council for British Archaeology’s Executive Director. “We hope that this will be our biggest and best yet and would love as many people as possible to take part in the exciting and innovative events being held across the UK.”
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Carried out in collaboration with the National Trust, the festival is funded by Historic England, Cadw, and the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars and will this year take place from July 16 to 31. Boasting an eclectic raft of attractions, it will incorporate countless in-person and virtual attractions delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, and experts.
In Lancashire specifically, the public will be able to visit and take part in a dig at Calf Hill near Lancaster, a fascinating site which contains evidence of occupation from prehistory to the present day. With training provided, all levels of archaeological experience are welcome to come down and get involved.
Giving participants the invaluable chance to discover and explore the archaeology around them, the festival this year is running along the theme of ‘journeys’, extolling the virtues of people embarking on their own personal journeys to learn about and unearth fascinating historical stories or archaeology across their local sites, buildings, and places.
“Our theme of journeys encourages people to discover the archaeology that is all around them, discover new journeys, and share their own,” says Neil. “We encourage as many people as possible to get involved and to discover the events nearest to them, as well as virtual activities and downloadable resources via the festival website.”
Expecting to engage with over 500,000 people over the course of the vibrant two-week festival, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is on a mission to inspire Lancastrian people to become more involved in the rich heritage around them. After all, this is a goal the CBA has pursued since its founding in 1944 as the UK’s leading archaeology charity.
Time to get digging in every sense of the word.