THIS year’s Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology 2020 will be going digital, with two weeks of online events.

The theme will be focusing on climate and environment.

It will be delivered, Old Sarum-based Wessex Archaeology, and the festival will be in two parts with digital events running from today (Saturday, July 11) until July 19 followed on October 24 by events to view real-time archaeology.

The festival will kick off with a special online launch event today at 11am with the webinar Discover Environmental Archaeology, featuring Time Team and Wessex Archaeology archaeologist Dr Phil Harding exploring the basics of environmental archaeology.

This will be followed by an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Wessex Archaeology’s environmental laboratory.

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Other sessions include an in-depth webinar on environmental archaeology: The Domestication of Plants and New Discoveries about the First Cereals in Britain; a practical workshop for children and young people: Archaeology 3D: learn how archaeologists recreate past landscapes and turn ecofacts into 3D models; and a student careers session.

The launch day will be followed by a week of free digital sessions for the public to join with something to interest all ages and abilities.

Other highlights from the Wessex Archaeology festival programme include A Potted History – the Iron Age / Roman transition in Hampshire, a collaboration with Hampshire Cultural Trust. This is a series of short films that will be released over the week and culminate in a live question and answer session on Friday, July 17, 12.30 to 1.30pm.

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Videos will be released daily online from tomorrow (Sunday, July 12). View here. Sign up for the Q&A and submit your questions by clicking here.

Council for British Archaeology Executive Director Neil Redfern said: “Archaeology has always responded to the world in which we exist, and this year is no different. By hosting a digital festival, we hope to bring something new and dynamic to how we engage and participate as archaeologists. We want to go beyond just cancelling or postponing our summer event to ensure that an important date in many people’s diaries remains at this crucial time for all those working, volunteering, or studying in the archaeology sector.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England added: “We’re pleased that part of this year’s festival has become digital. Not only does this help people to access archaeology at a time when for many of us there is no other way, it also helps increase understanding of what we can learn from archaeology. By telling us about where we have come from, it helps to shape the direction we might take.”

Wessex Archaeology will conclude its digital events programme for the Festival of Archaeology with a family friendly story telling session, Arno the Archaeologist. The story and illustrations were created by Wessex Archaeology staff to introduce archaeology to children under seven, both at home and in schools. The production will premiere on the Wessex Archaeology YouTube channel on Saturday, July 18 at 9am,

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Wessex Archaeology Community and Education Manager Samuel Fieldhouse said: “Wessex Archaeology is thrilled to be working with the CBA to plan an engaging programme of online events and resources. Our activities have a broad enough range so that there is something for everyone, from toddlers to professional archaeologists. The digital nature of this year’s festival and our partnership with the CBA gives Wessex Archaeology the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than previous years and we find that very exciting.”

The festival is the largest annual festival to celebrate archaeological heritage in the UK. Now in its 29th year the Festival of Archaeology has grown from a single day to a two-week event which is normally held in July.

English Heritage Head of Learning and Interpretation Dr Dominique Bouchard said: “The Climate and Environment theme is the perfect subject matter to introduce archaeology to young people, and to inspire them to take a lifelong interest in it. The Shout Out Loud programme was established to help bring youth voices, ideas and creativity to the fore, and the digital Festival of Archaeology offers young people the chance to show how archaeology has something to offer everyone.”

For more information on the digital launch events and to book click here.