Wednesday, 18 March 2015

News from the Worcester Cathedral roundabout dig

The excavations on the Cathedral roundabout, which are the first in a series of investigative works to support the Worcester Cathedral square improvement scheme, have now begun. We are in the process of arranging a location for an exhibition to allow us to share information about our discoveries, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get onto site and have a tour. We are also creating a blog, which we will use to share the story of the site and what has been uncovered. If you have stories about the houses we are uncovering we hope to provide opportunities for these to be shared. We will let you know more in the next week or two when plans are in place.

In the meantime, please be aware that the dig is in the middle of a very busy road. Public interest in the excavation is high but we don't want to cause any accidents so please be patient and in 2-3 weeks we should be ready and safe.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Step back in time with Tudor Day at The Hive

On Saturday we will be turning the clock back to the year 1575 in the Children's Library here at The Hive - Queen Elizabeth is about to visit Worcester and the city is making preparations.

Paul Harding, from Discover History, will be here in costume and armed with replica artefacts, to talk about what it would be like to live in Worcester in 1575 and how people would have prepared for the Queen's visit.

We will have documents from the archives, which tell us about how Worcester prepared - including instructions that all dung hills were to be taken away! There will be opportunity to draw an illuminated letter, based on decorated documents we have, and compare modern Worcester with a map of Elizabethan Worcester to see how the city has changed over the centuries. You can also find out about the link between Elizabeth I, Worcester and the Black Pear. There will be a treasure trail round the children's library with a Tudor theme and displays of history books to borrow.

The event runs from 10am to 3pm, is free, and you can drop in any time.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Explore Maps workshop at The Hive

All good adventures begin with a map, or so goes the saying. Certainly lots of research here has been fuelled by maps and plans. As visual documents they draw you in, and contain lots of valuable information. For instance the other week Rob, our Community Archaeologist, came across the fields Near Piesland and Big Piesland on the Upton Warren Tithe Map. Who wouldn't want to live there?

Our Explore Maps workshop is returning to The Hive on Monday 16th March. The workshop will cover the wide variety of maps we hold, such as Ordnance Survey, Tithe, Enclosure, town plans, Goad, footpath and manuscript maps. You may already be familiar with some of these but our workshops often throw up new sources and maps, which people have not come across before; one example is the 1910 Land Valuation maps, sometimes referred to as 'New Domesday'. There will be examples of original maps out on display, which participants of our workshops always enjoy looking at. We will also look at how to search the catalogues and indexes so you can find the maps that could help you.

The workshop runs from 10am to 3pm, with a break in the middle, and costs £14. To book please email or phone 01905 766352.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Anglo-Saxon Grave Workshop for Schools

One of the activities we do with school children is the Anglo-Saxon skeleton, usually as part of 'Invaders & Settlers' aspect of the national curriculum. Our archaeologists base the workshop on the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon burial, and what this can tell us about Saxon life. We have a replica skeleton along with grave goods, based on local examples, which children can handle. 

Uncovering a skeleton leads to all sorts of question for archaeologists, and the information the items give can lead to a very different picture of The Dark Ages, so it is great way for children to think about the process of discovering and analysing the evidence of the past. Questions include:

  • Is it a male or female? Which bones do archaeologists look at for signs of whether skeleton is of a male of female? What can the goods and skeleton tell us? (we have example artefacts from the other gender too so we cover both!)
  • What has survived and was has rotted away, such as wood and food?
  • What do the grave goods indicate about how the person lived, and about their religious beliefs? Where do the goods come from, how far have they travelled?
  • What can we tell about their thoughts about the afterlife?
  • Are there similarities with today?

Male grave goods
The objects we have are based in many cases from examples discovered by our archaeologists at sites in Worcestershire, so provides a local link to the subject. We'll also include details of some of the other excavations in the county which have yielded clues to life in that period, including clothes and buildings.

Saucer brooch found near Evesham

If you are interested in coming to The Hive for one of these sessions, or in us coming out to your school, please email or phone 01905 766352.

Anglo Saxon cremation urn

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Love Archaeology - a free family event at The Hive

Families will be able to see some of the animal bones we have discovered and find out more of the story behind them

On Thursday, 19th February families can visit The Hive to find out what archaeologists do. Rob Hedge, our Community Archaeologist, and former digger on Time Team, will have a range of objects we've discovered over the years. You can also find out about what we discovered when we dug on the site of The Hive before it was built, including part of Roman Worcester. On the day families can: 

  • Handle real Roman pottery, and see if you can correctly identify them from our guides
  • Examine remains from rubbish pits under a microscope to see what the remains tell us about what people ate and how they lived
  • See animal bones we've discovered & find out what this tells us
  • Design a medieval tile, similar to examples we've found in Worcester

The event is free, and you can drop in anytime between 10am and 3pm in the children's library in The Hive. The event is part of the Love Worcester festival and you can find out more about events at other venues through

Rob will be there on the day to guide families through to work of an archaeologist