Festival of British Archaeology

Get ready for the grand finale weekend of the 2023 Festival of Archaeology, folks, because they’ve got something truly special in store for Greenwich Families! They have chosen a prime location for the finale; when we say prime, we mean it literally! Greenwich Park is home to the prestigious Royal Observatory and the iconic Prime Meridian. It’s the perfect backdrop for a kid-friendly immersive journey through over 2,000 years of history that has shaped this remarkable landscape.

On Sunday, 30th July, from 10:00 am, a six-hour FREE-to-attend event packed with tours that will transport you back in time, storytelling that will captivate your imagination and art and poetry that will breathe life into the past. You won’t believe the incredible stories that lie within this site, from its days as a Roman place of worship to its role as a Saxon burial ground. And that’s not all; delve into its transformation from a Tudor hunting park to a Restoration pleasure garden, all the way up to the modern era of the 20th century.

But wait, there’s more! They’ve assembled a dream team of archaeologists, historians, re-enactors, and other experts who will be right there with you, bringing the Park’s history to life. Imagine rubbing shoulders with these incredible minds as they help you reimagine the long and fascinating journey of this iconic Park. And guess what? We have a superstar in our midst! Raksha Dave, President of the Council for British Archaeology, archaeologist extraordinaire, and TV presenter, will join us for this grand finale. She’ll treat us to a special reading from her new children’s book, Lessons from Our Ancestors, and even sign copies. How cool is that?

If you can’t make the Sunday event, then the Saturday event at Southwark Cathedral celebrates the River Thames and some of the crafts that helped build London.

Learn about traditional crafts, and ask the demonstrators questions. The crafts being demonstrated will include:

Blacksmithing and Coppersmithing with Urban Crafts Foundation

Beekeeping with Bee Urban

Bee Skep making with Nick Dinsmore

Dyeing, Weaving and Spinning with the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

Medieval Pilgrim Badge making Lionheart Replicas

Illuminated Manuscripts with iconographer Hanna Ward

Decorative Guilding with the City & Guilds School of Art

Stone and Wood carving with City & Guilds School of Art

Flint knapping with Jonathan Cope

On the same day, you can also celebrate the River Thames and how it has formed the communities of London. Join several mudlarks, including best-selling author Lara Maiklem displaying their fascinating finds from the foreshore, which are portals into the past and fragments of lives long forgotten.

Speak to Thames foreshore archaeologists Fiona Haughey and Mike Webber and find out how the River Thames, London’s longest open-air archaeological site – provides evidence for past environments and structures from prehistory to the present.

Get messy with acclaimed ceramic artist Raewyn Harrison making clay tiles and figurines, or have your face painted. Great for the kids!

All of these wonderful activities and demonstrations will be taking place in the Cathedral nave and Churchyard Saturday, 29th July, from 10 am – 4 pm

So mark your calendars and get ready to be blown away by a weekend of historical wonders at Greenwich Park and Southwark Cathedral. It’s the perfect way to conclude the Festival of Archaeology and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Join us, and let’s celebrate the rich tapestry of our past together!

British Archaeology Week runs nationwide from the 15th to the 30th of July – further events can be found here on their website.