New programme of events announced for UK’s largest archaeology festival

Posted by er134 at Jun 19, 2017 12:12 PM |
Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology supported by University of Leicester takes place from Saturday 15 July to Sunday 30 July 2017
  • Public can take part in UK’s largest archaeology festival and help celebrate county’s heritage
  • Free heritage day at Jewry Wall Museum on Sunday 9th July will launch Festival
  • Festival supported by the University of Leicester which will be holding events before and during the Festival

Images available to download at:

Full events listing at:

The programme for this year’s Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology has been announced.

Members of the public are invited take part in the UK’s largest archaeology festival and help bring our past to life.

Between Saturday 15 July and Sunday 30 July over 80 events will be held across Leicestershire and Rutland celebrating the rich and diverse heritage of the two counties.

The Festival in Leicestershire is supported by the University of Leicester who will be holding a number of events during the Festival and over the summer. Visit the University excavations at Bradgate House to see the results of the third year of a five year programme of investigation into the history of Bradgate Park. Attend talks about recent discoveries at Oakham Castle and Leicester Castle, by the archaeologists who led the excavations, or join a community archaeology dig at Market Bosworth or Beaumont Leys.

The two-week long Festival, part of the Council of British Archaeology’s nationwide Festival of Archaeology 2017, once again proudly offers the biggest programme of events anywhere in the UK.

The programme is packed with a fascinating array of have-a-go events, talks and guided tours from some of the county’s leading archaeological and historical experts. Local groups will show off their own discoveries and invite people to become involved in making the next great discovery!

Whether it’s discovering the ‘Brilliant Bronze Age’ at Charnwood Museum in Loughborough, excavating a hidden section of the Roman Fosse Way with Hinckley Archaeological Society, going to a talk on Oakham or Leicester Castle, taking a tour of St Mary’s Church in Bottesford, walking the Swannington Incline, the Midlands first railway, or having a go at archery with the Vikings of Middle England, there is something for everyone.

The Festival brings together local archaeological and historical organisations to showcase all that is great about our heritage in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Mathew Morris, Project Officer at University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), said: “The University is really pleased to be able to support the Festival of Archaeology again this year. The Festival is a chance to showcase the best of British Archaeology and get people involved in their local heritage. Every year, Leicestershire and Rutland put on more events than any else in Britian, testament to the fantastic commitment to archaeology our counties’ organisations, societies and community groups have. With the amazing reception the recent ULAS open days had at the Stibbe site in Leicester, we are delighted to be able to reveal more of our latest discoveries through talks and guided tours, and give people a chance to get some hands-on archaeological experience too.”

Peter Liddle, Festival convenor, commented: “We are extremely pleased with the programme of events this year, especially the range of talks and guided walks, which give people a chance to explore their local heritage with the county’s leading archaeological and historical experts.”

“There is something for everyone, and we are extremely pleased this year that we have more have-a-go events than ever before, giving people a chance to get involved in excavating and recording their county’s unique history.”

Festival Launch

This year’s Festival kicks off with ‘Bringing Our Past To Life’ a free heritage day at Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester, on Sunday 9 July (11am-4pm).

This exciting family friendly day will preview the Festival, celebrating the county’s heritage with re-enactors and living-history, crafts and games, and displays of recent discoveries from the City and County.

Meet Roman legionaries, medieval knights, Second World War soldiers, and many other people from the past; talk to local groups about their work; and discover what is going on during this year’s Festival.

Festival leaflets are now available at museums, libraries and tourist information centres, and many other places across Leicestershire and Rutland. The programme can also be accessed and downloaded online at or or via your mobile device at

University events

Sun. 2nd July      A Walk Through the Past… Bradgate Park Excavation Open Day. 11am – 4pm. Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford, LE6 0HB. Visit the University excavations at Bradgate House to see the results of the third year of a five year programme of investigation into the history of the Park. Guided tours of the excavations and Bradgate House will go on throughout the day along with many activities for all the family, including demonstrations, archaeological material to handle, re-enactors and exhibitors. FREE event. Parking £4.

Mon. 17th July    Recent investigations at Oakham Castle. 6pm. Oakham Castle, Market Place, Oakham, LE15 6DR. Come along to a talk by Leon Hunt, who was one of the supervising archaeologists during Oakham Castle’s recent restoration. Hear about what was discovered, direct from the archaeologist. £4, including a copy of the Rutland Record. No booking required.

Mon. 17th July    The Archaeology of Leicester Castle. 7pm – 8.30pm. Leicester Castle Hall, Castle Yard, Leicester LE1 5WH. “Leicester has a castle?” is often a visitor’s surprised response. Today it might not be a fairy-tale castle of tall walls, turrets and gates but it is a hidden gem in the city’s history, for over 900 years visited by kings and colourful characters. Mathew Morris, from University of Leicester Archaeological Services will talk about the castle’s history and archaeology, including new discoveries uncovered during De Montfort University’s recent refurbishment of the 12th-century Great Hall. FREE Book your place on

Wed. 19th July    From Civitas to Civil War: Recent archaeological discoveries in Leicester. 5.30 – 7pm (doors open at 5pm). Jewry Wall Museum, St Nicholas Circle, Leicester, LE1 4LB Leicester is an ancient city which has been continuously occupied for more than 2,000 years. Mathew Morris from University of Leicester Archaeological Services will reveal some of the latest discoveries made in and around Leicester’s historic core. From Roman cemeteries and mosaics, to medieval castles, friaries and hospitals, and 17th century Civil War defences, ten sites will showcase Leicester’s rich and fascinating history. Advanced booking recommended. Tickets £4.50, to book call 0116 225 4971.

Sat. 22nd July     Leicester Castle Tour. 2pm – 4pm. Meet outside the Great Hall, Leicester Castle, LE1 5WH. Join Dr Richard Buckley for a tour of Leicester Castle with a chance to see the newly restored Great Hall. The Castle is one of Leicester’s hidden gems and was the home of the Earls of Leicester and a favourite of Dukes of Lancaster including John of Gaunt. Adults £4, children FREE Booking at

22nd-23rd July    Bosworth Links Community Dig. All weekend, 9am-5pm. Locations around Market Bosworth. Come and join the Bosworth Links Community Archaeology Dig in Market Bosworth or find out what has been discovered. Market Bosworth residents will be digging test pits around the village with the help of volunteers and University of Leicester archaeologists to find out more about the village’s early history. The event is free and no previous experience is necessary but you must book a place in advance to take part. FREE Details from or telephone 01455 293 659.

Wed. 26th July    Castle Hill – in search of the Knights Hospitallers. 5.30pm – 7pm (doors open at 5pm). Jewry Wall Museum, St Nicholas Circle, Leicester, LE1 4LB. After a successful excavation in September last year of the suspected Knight Hospitallers site on Castle Hill Country Park, Mathew Morris from the University of Leicester Archaeology Services will provide an update on what was found during the dig. Hear about a second excavation happening this year to build on current findings, and how you can get involved! FREE Advance booking recommended, To book, please call 0116 225 4971. Light refreshments available.

Fri. 28th July       Guided Walk of Burrough Hill. 2pm -4pm. Meet at the top of the track near Burrough Hill Country Park, Somerby Road, Burrough on the Hill, LE14 2QZ. Visit Leicestershire’s finest hill fort with University of Leicester Archaeological Service’s John Thomas and Andrew Hyam, who directed the 5 year programme of excavations on the site. They will take you round the site and describe the excavation findings. Adults: £3, children FREE Car parking £2.50. No booking required.

2nd-27th Sept.    Castle Hill Community Dig. Weekly Sat-Wed, 9am-4pm. Castle Hill Country Park, Astill Lodge Road, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, LE4 1EF. The University of Leicester and Leicester City Council are returning to Castle Hill Country Park, Beaumont Leys for a second season of excavation on the medieval manorial site in the park which is linked to the Knights Hospitallers. Volunteers can participate in the excavation, in morning, afternoon or all-day sessions. No previous experience is necessary and full training will be provided by ULAS archaeologists on site. The site will have an Open Day on Sunday 10th September. For more details please contact Lucy Brown at


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Peter Liddle at or Mathew Morris at:

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