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Festival of Archaeology

Sharing our discoveries, re-telling the stories of our past

For the 3rd year running, we're supporting the Festival of Archaeology

HS2 will be taking part in the CBA Festival of Archaeology, the UK’s biggest annual celebration of archaeology.

As part of HS2’s enabling works, teams of more than 1,000 archaeologists have been exploring and revealing over 10,000 years of British history.

We want to share our discoveries, re-telling the stories of our past, helping us understand what made us as a country and the people who built the foundations of modern Britain. We intend on linking the past, present and future.

Our webinars during the Festival of Archaeology will allow people to understand their history and see archaeologists at work.

What will we be covering?

Hillingdon's Hidden History, 19/7/21

Join us to find out more about how archaeologists working in West London on the HS2 project uncovered a fascinating rare set of Iron Age potins, an early version of the coin, dating back to the 1st century BC.

The hoard of over 300 potins is a significant historical find, and was discovered in Hillingdon in August last year (2020). The find may be recognized as “treasure” under British Law. Similar finds have been discovered at other sites in the South East, including nearby in Essex, Surrey and Kent with provenance as far away as Central France.

‘The Hillingdon Hoard’ – as it has been called – dates back to the late Iron Age, during a period of change as the Romans began to establish themselves in Britain and create Londinium. The potins are based on coins struck in Marseille, France, about 2,175 years ago, which bear the left-facing head of Apollo on one side and a bull charging right on the other.

Join us for this ‘webinar’ to hear from our experts about how they found the hoard and what happened next.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Find out more about this event.

Curzon Street, 20/7/21

Our archaeology programme is continuing to unearth discoveries across our sites.

Join HS2, MHI and Wessex Archaeology for this online event to find out about the archaeological developments at Curzon Street, Birmingham.

This ‘webinar’ will give an overview of the archaeological works at HS2’s Curzon Street site. We’ll start from the initial desk based assessment and go on to look at the onsite excavations and some of the challenges archaeologists overcame when working on this complicated site.

Our team will talk about the significance of the site and what it was like to discover amazing artefacts, features and building remains.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Find out more about this event.

St James' burial ground, 22/7/21

People from a changing city – The archaeological investigations of St James’s Gardens burial ground

The 18th and 19th century was a time of rapid growth for the city of London. Driven by the industrial revolution, the population of London exploded. Many people moved from the countryside to urban areas following the promise of work in factories an workshops. The very poorest and richest lived side by side. Opening in 1788 and closing in 1853, the burial ground at St James’s Gardens covered this time of incredible change in the capital.

The recent archaeological excavations undertaken as part of the HS2 project, as seen on Britain’s Biggest Dig, are helping to better understand the lives of the people who lived in London at this important time.

This talk includes a brief history of the site, an update on the excavations and information on some of the artefacts recovered during the dig.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Please be warned that the presentation will contain images of Human Remains (Skeletons).

Find out more about this event.

Uncovering the landscapes of HS2, 23/7/21

Have you ever wondered about the history of the place you live?

We live our lives in landscapes with deep and complex histories. These landscapes are formed by many generations of settlement and activity. Archaeologists study these landscapes by looking at both the historic buildings and monuments that surround us, as well as the below-ground archaeological evidence (if you know where to look). Join us to find out what landscapes can reveal about the past.

Hosted by heritage specialists working for HS2, this webinar will focus on research questions associated with the historic landscape and landscape development of England.

This ‘webinar’ will

discuss the first large scale changes to the landscape for human settlement and agriculture and what evidence can be found of this along all phases of the HS2 route

explain how archaeologists look at archaeological sites within wider landscapes

consider the development of land holdings and estates and how these further altered and shaped the landscape in which we live today.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Find out more about this event.

St Mary's Field Museum Open Day, 24/7/21, 25/7/21

Inside a specially constructed tent the size of a football pitch, archaeologists working on behalf of HS2, are currently excavating the remains of the former parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. This is a once in a generation opportunity to excavate the ruins of a medieval church and churchyard.

Inside the museum you can ascend the viewing platform for a bird’s eye view of ongoing excavations, as well as displays, films and interactives to explore the history of St. Mary’s church and the amazing archaeological discoveries in the surrounding area. We’d love to welcome you onto site to explore this fascinating excavation, where you can learn about life and death in Stoke Mandeville over more than 800 years.

Tickets are limited.

We will be holding more field museum open days on 24th and 25th July as part of the Festival of Archaeology. Tickets for these dates will be released at 10am on 13th July and booking will close at 5pm on Thursday 22nd July.

Find out more about this event.

Innovation in Archaeology, 26/7/21

Our archaeology programme presents the opportunity to deliver ground breaking approaches and solutions that will leave a legacy beyond the lifespan of HS2.

Archaeology a new frontier for Innovation.

Have you ever wondered what Innovation and Archaeology have in common?

During this ‘webinar’ we will share information about our innovation programme and how it is supporting some of the exciting finds uncovered through innovative approaches and techniques developed on the HS2 Project.

Hosted by one of HS2’s Historic Environment Managers and Innovation Leads, this webinar will focus on sharing some ground breaking Innovation solutions being utilised across the Project.

This ‘webinar’ will discuss how the HS2 Innovation programme has created a rich environment for the development and implementation of Innovation across the Project and how this has enabled the Archaeology team to set new benchmarks for the industry.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Please be warned that the presentation will contain images of Human Remains (Skeletons).

Find out more about this event.

Coleshill Built Heritage, 27/7/21

Join HS2, COPA and Wessex Archaeology for this online event to find out about the archaeological developments at Coleshill.

This ‘webinar’ will:

  • Explain what historic buildings archaeology is
  • Give an overview of the development of the Coleshill Estate buildings according to the latest discoveries
  • Look at the history of the Old Barn, Capitol Joinery and Coleshill Hall Farmhouse.

The conversation with our specialists will highlight new and exciting information about the history of the buildings and their relationship with the former Coleshill Hall.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Find out more about this event.

St Mary's Field Museum One Day Course -Finds, 27/7/21

Inside a specially constructed tent the size of a football pitch, archaeologists working on behalf of HS2, are currently excavating the remains of the former parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. This is a once in a generation opportunity to excavate the ruins of a medieval church and churchyard.

As well as a chance to visit the site of St Mary’s Church, this one-day course offers an introduction to small finds processing, recording and conservation at the site. The day will include talks and handling sessions, exploring finds from the site, such as coins and pottery fragments, dating as far back as the Romans. Course participants will work with archaeologists to create written and photographic records of small finds from St Mary’s.

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).

The St Mary’s Field Museum

The Field Museum is a community engagement programme at St Mary’s, Stoke Mandeville as part of HS2 works.

On offer is a one-day participant programme, which enables members of the public to come onto the site and learn about the process of identifying and recording non-biological archaeological remains/artefacts. This includes the recording (written and photographic) of small finds, such as coins and pottery fragments, recovered from archaeological contexts. The key outcome is to produce written and photographic records of small metallic finds in the style of a PAS (portable antiquities scheme) entry.

It is hoped that this course will be certified by CIfA.

Learning objectives

• Learn about the archaeology at St Mary’s

• Understand the role of finds specialists

• Understand the basics of finds processing

• Work with archaeologists to create a written and photographic record of finds

Tickets are limited.

Find out more about this event.

St Mary's Field Museum One Day Course - Illustration, 28/7/21

Inside a specially constructed tent the size of a football pitch, archaeologists working on behalf of HS2, are currently excavating the remains of the former parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. This is a once in a generation opportunity to excavate the ruins of a medieval church and churchyard.

As well as a chance to visit the site of St Mary’s Church, this one-day course offers participants the opportunity to learn about the process of identifying and recording archaeological artefacts. This includes the illustration of small finds, such as coins

and pottery fragments, recovered from archaeological contexts in the wider landscape around St Mary’s Church. As well as working with archaeologists to record the age, fabric and form of ceramic remains, participant will learn how to create scaled illustrations of ceramic fragments.

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).

The St Mary’s Field Museum

The Field Museum is a community engagement programme at St Mary’s, Stoke Mandeville as part of HS2 works.

On offer is a one-day participant programme, which enables members of the public to come onto the site and learn about the process of identifying and recording non-biological archaeological remains/artefacts. This includes the illustration of small finds, such as coins and pottery fragments, recovered from archaeological contexts. The key outcome is to produce an illustrative record of archaeological ceramic finds.

It is hoped that this course will be certified by CIfA.

Learning objectives

• Learn about the archaeology at St Mary’s

• Understand the role of finds specialists

• Understand the basics of finds processing

• Work with archaeologists to illustrative record of archaeological ceramic finds.

Tickets are limited.

Find out more about this event.

Doddershall, 29/7/21

The village of Doddershall was first recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1085 and is one of the exciting key archaeological sites along the HS2 Phase One route. Excavations undertaken between July 2020 to July 2021 have unearthed a previously unknown wealth of history dating back to the Romano British period, along with significant finds from the time of the Black Death in the 14th century. The excavations have the potential to help us understand the origins of the settlement, how it developed and when and why it was abandoned.

This ‘webinar’ will share and discuss details of the emerging results from the archaeological excavations undertaken by HS2 archaeologists and what further analysis of the finds could tell us about the lives of the inhabitants of Doddershall. This will help us to learn more about the daily lives of the people who lived, worked and farmed the landscape over a significant period of time.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Find out more about this event.

Archaeology of the Chilterns, 30/7/21

Archaeological works along the route of HS2 have added significant new discoveries to enhance our understanding of the archaeology and history of the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire.

The archaeological team from Infra JV, who carried out the extensive investigations for Fusion JV on behalf of HS2 Ltd, will tell you about their work and finds in the area.

This ‘webinar’ will explore exciting discoveries from their sites dating from early prehistory through to the medieval period. We will also look at finds including a large Bronze Age timber circle, a Roman lead coffin at Wellwick Farm, an Anglo-Saxon farm and a medieval iron smithy.

You will be able to ask the team questions via a live Q&A chat option.

Please be warned that the presentation will contain images of human remains (skeletons).

Find out more about this event.