3 August 2019

Bristol’s brilliant archaeology festival

Join museum archaeologists for a fun-packed day full of tours, demonstrations, displays and archaeological activities.

We’ll be joined by a whole host of local societies, heritage organisations, re-enactors and field archaeologists.

Become an archaeologist for the day and explore objects and displays from some of Bristol’s most recent archaeological sites. You can also take tours to visit archaeologist Amelia Edward’s grave and Blaise Castle.

There will be chances to meet Anglo Saxon re-enactors, have a go at archery, learn some survival skills, find out about the work of local societies and see a mini exhibition of paintings showing Roman Sea Mills.

Younger archaeologists can have a go at our ‘mini-excavation’, dress up, get an Iron Age face painting, join an archaeological feast, craft sessions and much more.

This event is part of the Festival of Archaeology which showcases the very best of archaeology for everyone. Coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology.

Talks and tours

Tour of Amelia Edwards’ Grave
11.15am and 2.30pm
Take a tour to archaeologist Amelia Edwards’ grave with Aidan Dodson, Honorary Professor of Egyptology at the University of Bristol. Book at the information desk. Tour lasts 45 minutes. Involves a short walk to Henbury Churchyard.

Demonstration of fire by friction
11.30am and 3.30pm
Watch Matt Lloyd from Survival School Bristol demonstrate survival skills used since prehistory. Drop in – no need to book. Meet by the Survival Skills stall. Lasts 30 minutes.

Storytime: Greek Myths and other stories
11.45am, 12.45pm, 1.45pm, 2.45pm

Listen to tales of ancient Greek gods and other stories with The Little Book Lady. Stories last 10 minutes. Drop in – no need to book. Meet by The Little Book Lady stall.

Tour of the Blaise Estate
11.45am and 3pm
Take a short tour around the Estate to the Dairy Gardens to discover Humphry Repton’s picturesque landscape with curators from Blaise Museum. Book at the information desk. Tour lasts 35 minutes.

Demonstration of Saxon / Viking combat
Warriors from Westencynn show off their battle skills. Drop in – no need to book. Gather by the main arena. Lasts 30 minutes.

Tour of Blaise Castle
12.30pm and 2.45pm
Take a tour to Blaise Castle opened especially for the festival. Led by the Friends of Blaise Estate. Book at the information stall. Tour lasts 45 minutes. Involves a steep climb to Blaise Castle.

Talk on Ötzi the Iceman’s Transportation of Fire
Find out about experimental archaeologist Jonny Crockett’s latest research. Talk lasts 20 minutes. Meet at the information stall. Drop in – no need to book.

Activity: Kiddi Vike
Warriors from Westencynn teach the under 10s how to battle Saxon/Viking style. Lasts 30 minutes. Gather by the main arena.

St Mary’s Church
All day
Find out about the history of this fascinating church and discover the embroidered Astry Altar Cloth made in 1708 on display especially for Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology.

Blaise Community Gardens
All day
Explore the gardens and visit their café. Take a tour of the garden and find out about the history of the garden. Drop in – ask at the gardens for tours.

Stalls and activities

  • Abona paintings – Local artist Chris Molan displays historical illustrations including reconstructions of the Roman town of Abona and Bristol Castle.
  • Archeoscan – Learn about recent excavations at Ashton Court, explore finds from the site and discover how to get involved next year.
  • Avon Archaeology Ltd – Meet local archaeologists, find out about their latest fieldwork and discover how drones are used in archaeology.
  • Bath and Counties Archaeological Society – Visit displays showcasing BACAS’ recent projects and get hands on with their geophysics equipment.
  • Battle Archery Ltd – Have a go at archery! See how many targets you can hit on our pop up range.
  • Blaise Community Gardens – Meet our local gardeners and sample their home made refreshments.
  • Blaise Dairy Gardens – Explore the picturesque Dairy open especially for the festival.
  • Bristol & Avon Archaeological Society – Learn all about BAAS and their exciting programme of walks and talks.
  • Bristol Museums – Find out about M Shed’s latest exhibition Aardman: Animating Early Man and make a prehistoric inspired bracelet to take home.
  • Clifton Antiquarian Club – Hear about the club’s latest talks, field trips, excavation opportunities and work with younger archaeologists.
  • Cotswold Archaeology – Meet archaeologists to chat about recent projects, discover Bristol’s part in WWII aircraft production and decorate your own mini airplane to take home.
  • Costume – Try Iron Age, Roman and Medieval costumes on with the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.
  • Egypt Society of Bristol and KEMET KLUB – Find out about the activities of your local Egypt Societies and take a guided tour to Victorian pioneer Egyptologist Amelia Edwards’ grave.
  • English Heritage – Meet archaeologists from English Heritage, learn about local sites and investigate finds from their amazing collections.
  • Friends of Blaise – Take an archaeologically inspired tour of the Blaise Estate and a trip to the Blaise Castle Folly.
  • The Little Book Lady – Browse Usborne Books archaeology and history range for children, have a go at one of their craft activities and listen to a story.
  • Marion Brown –  Make a bracelet Viking-style using the ancient art of trollen weaving.
  • Medieval music – Meet our medieval musicians, discover their collection of instruments and listen to tuneful music.
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme – Bring your finds to be identified by our friendly Finds Officer and make an Iron Age coin.
  • Prehistoric feast – Discover which foods were eaten in prehistory and try some tasty Iron Age treats with the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.
  • SS Great BritainLearn more about the SS Great Britain and its voyages with a giant map of the world, games and dressing up!
  • St Mary’s Church Henbury – Discover the fascinating history of the church on Blaise’s doorstep and meet parish historians.
  • Survival School Bristol – Discover the work of experimental archaeologists and learn some of the skills needed to survive prehistory with our excellent local tutors.
  • The Travelling History Company – Find out about archaeological outreach and bespoke excursions for primary schools, secondary schools and home educators.
  • University of BristolMeet staff and students to find out about their latest research. Have a go at ancient Egyptian inspired crafts and make a scarab beetle or a pharaohs mask.
  • Wessex Archaeology –Join our friendly archaeologists to hear about their latest fieldwork before taking part in a ‘mini excavation’, a fun packed quiz and making a prehistoric urn.
  • The Young Archaeologist Club – Find out what the Young Archaeologist Club have been up to, have your face painted like an Iron Age  warrior and make a prehistoric pot to take away.
  • Westencynn – Explore our Saxon camp with re-enactors practicing woodcarving, calligraphy, spinning, leatherwork and more. Watch combat demonstrations or train to be a mini warrior.

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