A CELEBRATION of all things history is coming to Salisbury this weekend as the Festival of Archaeology returns.

The two day event runs from Saturday (July 23), starting at 10am, and runs until Sunday (July 24) at Salisbury Museum.

The museum grounds will be filled with fun stands with archaeology, history and living history experts, providing a packed weekend of entertainment.

This year, the festival celebrates 20 years since the discovery of the grave of the Amesbury Archer and the museum is partnering with Wessex Archaeology for the launch of its film The Amesbury Archer: 20 Years On on Saturday afternoon, which recalls the excavations and looks at what has been discovered since about the life of a man at the centre of Early Bronze Age society.

A second Wessex Archaeology film will be screened on the Sunday afternoon – Beyond the Stones celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

Both films will be followed by a Q&A. They are ticketed due to limited seats, but tickets are free and can be pre-booked.

The museum says it is also “thrilled” to be welcoming back supporter, Professor Alice Roberts for a talk about her new book Buried and a book-signing. The talk is sold out but Prof Alice fans can still come along to get a signed book.

Festival organiser Owaine Hughes said: “‘When’s the festival?’ is something we get asked all year round. Enthusiasm for this gem of an annual event in the centre of the city is received not only from those with a passion for history and archaeology, but from families who know the museum’s Festival of Archaeology is a memorable weekend of hands-on fun for all ages.

“This year we are once again packing the museum grounds with living history, archaeology, activities and talks for all ages. Highlights include Prof Alice Roberts’ talk, the screening of two new films ‘Beyond the Stones’ and ‘The Amesbury Archer’ and a showground to watch historic demonstrations. If you like hands-on, there are many things to try including a virtual reality walk around a Saxon farm, digging for treasure and trying out real long bows.

Kate Barker, the museum’s chief operating officer added: “A huge amount of work goes into organising and running the Festival of Archaeology, but the whole team of museum staff and volunteers love it because there really is something for everyone over the weekend – heritage, archaeology, living history, music, games, films – all in the beautiful grounds of the museum.”

A minimum donation of £2 per person will get entry to the whole museum for the day as well as the showground, stalls, archery, scrapstore and free talks. Visit: salisburymuseum.org.uk


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