If you’ve ever fancied a go at archaeology, here’s your chance.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum’s archaeology team, supported by volunteers, are inviting visitors to join in a fantastic range of activities, many of which are free, during the Festival of Archaeology from 13th – 28th July. This national festival is coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology and is a great opportunity to discover your inner archaeologist and to meet the experts. Whether you are young or old, enthusiast or beginner, there will be something for everyone.
Throughout the festival visitors will be able to follow an Archaeological Scavenger Hunt around Coalbrookdale. This fun activity is aimed at introducing children to the skills utilised by archaeologists during their research, particularly the ability to observe and gather facts in order to interpret the past. They can pick up a free activity pack from the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale and then follow a trail around some of the iconic buildings and monuments including the Old Furnace, Carpenter’s Row and the Long Warehouse. Those who have successfully completed the trail will be entered into a free draw, with the chance to win membership to the Ironbridge Young Archaeologists’ Club for a year.
Other activities over the two week festival include a fascinating walk lead by the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust entitled The Iron Trail on 16th July, when visitors will explore both urban and rural Ironbridge. The tour starts at the Iron Bridge at 9.30am and places should be pre-booked.
Anyone interested in helping to catalogue the Caughley Shard Collection can drop in and join the members of the Ironbridge Archaeology Volunteer Group on 17th July at Coalport China Museum from 10am to 1pm while fun excavation aimed at young archaeologists will take place on 20th and 28th July at Coalbrookdale. Families are invited to drop in and have a go at digging in a trench and recording their finds between 11am-4pm.
For those who want to keep fit as well as learn about the remarkable heritage of the area there is a guided walk and a cycle ride. Beautiful views and amazing historic sites brought alive by an expert guide will be the reward for anyone joining the three hour cycle ride along the Severn Valley Way on 21th July, starting at 9am. Booking is essential. Shane Kelleher (Archaeology and Monuments Officer) and Samantha Colclough (Community Archaeology Placement) will also be leading a walk entitled The Ceramics Trail exploring historic Coalport and Jackfield on 25th July. The tour starts at the Jackfield Tile Museum at 12.30pm and places should be pre booked.
And finally all budding young archaeologists are invited to a taster session of the Ironbridge Young Archaeologists’ Club on 27th July. If it’s something that they want to continue with, they will be able to register to become a full time member. The event will take place between 1-4pm at the Engine Shop in Enginuity and booking is essential. There is a charge of £5 to participate in this event.
To make a booking on any of these events or to find out more about the many community archaeology projects being run in the Ironbridge Gorge, call Samantha Colclough on 01952 435900, email her at [email protected] or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk/archaeology.