Festival of archaeology set to bring city's past to life

Published on 06 July 2017

A NATIONWIDE festival of archaeology gets under way this month, with dozens of events taking place across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that will help bring the region’s past to life.

The festival kicks off at Jewry Wall Museum on Sunday (9 July), with a family-friendly event featuring characters from the past, including Roman legionaries, medieval knights and Second World War soldiers. There will also be games, crafts and historical re-enactments, as well as displays of recent archaeological finds from the city and county.

Called ‘Bringing Our Past To Life’, the free event runs from 11am until 4pm on Sunday.

Assistant city mayor for culture, leisure and sport Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “The festival launch at Jewry Wall Museum this weekend sets the scene for a fortnight of events that will encourage people to find out more about the history and heritage of our city. 

“The festival will provide an opportunity for anyone with an interest in archaeology to hear from some of the county’s leading experts and discover more about Leicester’s fascinating past.”

From Saturday 15 July until Sunday 30 July, Jewry Wall Museum will be the focus for Leicester’s Festival of Archaeology events, with a programme of talks, tours, guided walks and displays taking place throughout the fortnight.

Events include a talk about the legends associated with local standing stones and holy wells on 17 July, a presentation on some of the latest archaeological discoveries found in Leicester’s historic core on 19 July (£4.50), and a fascinating look at the weird and wonderful medieval carvings found in Leicestershire’s churches on 24 July.

The atmospheric surroundings of Jewry Wall’s Roman bath house host an outdoor performance of William Shakespeare’s comedy ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ (£13.50) on Thursday 20 July, with a guided tour of two of Leicester’s most historic churches on Saturday 22 July (£4).

The Festival of Archaeology concludes on Sunday 30 July, with a family-friendly Roman-themed event at Jewry Wall Museum – and an opportunity to visit some of the remarkable buildings that tell Leicester’s story from medieval times to its manufacturing heyday.

Leicester Castle Great Hall, The Magazine, Trinity Hospital Chapel and the De Montfort University Heritage Centre will all be free for visitors to explore as part of the regular Heritage Sunday programme. Guided tours of the Magazine and the Great Hall are also available (£2.50) but must be booked in advance (0116 299 4444).

At Jewry Wall Museum, ‘The Romans: Heroes or Villains?’ offers a fun-packed day – featuring Boudicca’s last battle and some tasty Roman snacks – to bring the festival to an end. 

Presented by the Friends of Jewry Wall Museum, the free event runs from 11.30am – 3.30pm on Sunday 30 July. 

Full details about the Festival of Archaeology in Leicester are available at www.visitleicester.info. More information is available by calling 0116 225 4971.

For more details about national events, visit www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk