Friday, 2 October 2015

New course - Introduction to Archaeology

In November we are starting a new 6 part Introduction to Archaeology course. Led by Justin Hughes, one of our experienced archaeologists and tutors it will introduce you to some of the basics of archaeology. Many people have enjoyed our workshops and walks over the years, or come on our community digs, and we've had lots of requests for a short course to understand how archaeology works. Justin, who many of you will know from the community digs and events, has run a number of WEA courses and has put this one together.

Justin Hughes

The course lasts 6 weeks and covers:
  • Locating Archaeological Sites: maps, photos, Historic Environment Record
  • Non-invasive archaeology: geophysics, LIDAR
  • Archaeological excavations
  •  How do archaeologists record information?
  •  Worcestershire & the Midlands Prehistory
  • Worcestershire & the Midlands History – Romans, Medieval and Modern

We'll be using many local examples of archaeological sites, although we will also stray over the border to look at interesting regional examples.

Dig Bromsgrove - community excavation

The course is ideal for anyone who'd like to know more about archaeology. You may have watched Time Team or come to one of our events and wondered how the archaeologists can tell what has happened. Maybe you've been on one of our community digs and would like to know more about the process, or perhaps you have an interest in archaeology and the past and would like to know more. You don't have to have any previous background or knowledge, just an interest!
Using the Historic Environment Record for research
The course runs on Thursday afternoons 2-4pm here in The Hive from Wednesday 4th November. It costs £45 and can be booked through                                                                                   

For more details please email or ring 01905 766352 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Archaeology Day School 2015

Our annual Archaeology Day School will take place on Saturday 21st November 10am-5pm. There'll be a wide range of talks from our archaeologists and from guest speakers about recent archaeological work and projects in the county.

The topics covered will include:

  • Fascinating Finds
  • Copcutt Excavations
  • Worcester's Civil War Siegeworks
  • Dig Lich St
  • Bromsgrove High St
  • Historic Environment Record's Volunteer Projects
  • Manorial Documents Project
  • Managing Rural Buildings and Landscapes

Photo © English Heritage NMR 27792/019
 This large scale, isolated farmstead, located to the west of the village of Naunton Beauchamp is on the site of a small medieval manor, believed to have been created during the land hunger of the 13th and 14th centuries. 

The event takes places at the University of Worcester, with the lectures in the main Lecture Theatre and refreshments in the Cotswold Suite, above reception, where there will also be displays and bookstalls.

The events costs £20 and can be booked online through The price includes drinks at the start and morning and afternoon breaks. Lunch is not included and you can either bring your own or purchase refreshment from the University's catering outlets.

Dig Lich St
For more information please email or ring 01905 766352.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

House History

Have you ever wondered about the history of your house? How old is it? Who lived there? Or perhaps there is a local building you want to find out more about.

House history is increasingly popular, and we have plenty of people come in wanting to do this and find out about their house, or a building they are connected with. Often they are not sure where to begin so ask our advice. Even if they have done some family history research or used us for another reason we often get asked where to start looking as there are slightly different sources.

We have a workshop on Saturday 3rd October which will be able to help you. We will look at what documentary evidence is available and where to find it here. We'll have examples of what can be discovered, and will use two examples – Great Malvern Railway Station and an ordinary semi-detached in St John's.

The workshop runs from 10am-1pm in The Hive. It is £10 and needs to be booked in advance – the last two workshops both sold out. It can be booked online at

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Family History

Autumn is always a time when we see an increase in people coming  in and saying "I'm interested in starting my family history, where do I begin?". You may be looking for a new activity now summer is over and  always wanted to have a go. You may be inspired by the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? or maybe you've come across some family story  that you want to check out.
We are an ideal place to come to as we have a wealth of resources. We have on-line access to many national records, so we can help most people, but if you have Worcestershire ancestors we have an even greater range of information which can help.
We are used to people visiting to research family history and many members of staff research their own, so we can empathise with you. We also run a range of workshops to help you, with different options depending on what you need.

First Steps in Family History
We run monthly 1 hour introductions to our resources. Each session takes up to five people and although we can't focus on your own family we will try to use them as examples to demonstrate the resources.
£5 – first Tuesday of the month 11:30am

Starting Family History
If you would like an in-depth look at family history and a deeper understanding of the sources then we run two part workshops. These look at the basic principles of how to research your family tree and the main sources such as civil registration, census, and parish registers. We'll explain what they are and what they contain, as well as what they don't contain. After each session there will be time to use the computers to put your learning into practice and start your research.
Workshops cost £15 and you can choose a Tuesday morning (29 Sept & 6 Oct) or Saturday morning (10 & 17 Oct)

Exploring Ancestry
One of the most useful places to search is the website, which contains civil registration indexes, census records and other key sources. We run specific workshops about the website to help you get the most out of it. Each one last two hours and we start in one of our meeting rooms before moving on to the computers to have a go at putting into practice what you've learnt. As the focus will be on the history sources and using the website participants should already be comfortable with using computers and the internet. Workshops are £6 each and you can choose to come to one or all three.

Starting Ancestry: The census (8 Oct 2pm) – an introduction to the website focusing on the census, the starting point for many people using Ancestry, looking at the background to this resource and how the way it was compiled can affect what you find or don't find.

Further Ancestry: Beyond the Census (15 Oct 2pm) – moving on to other key resources for family history, including electoral registers, civil registration, parish records and military records.

What's New on (22 Oct 2pm) – new sources are being added all the time and even if you use Ancestry regularly it's hard to keep up to date. This workshop will look at what has been added over the past couple of years. This is ideal for those who have been using the website for a while and just want to find out what else is on there.

To book any of these go to For more details email or ring 01905 766352.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Time Travelling with Royal Grammar School Springfield

Last term we were contacted by a teacher from the Royal Grammar School (RGS) Springfield. Their Year 5 pupils were studying the history of Worcester as that term's topic, using the idea of a Time Travel Agency needing information for a new brochure. The teacher asked us whether we could help, and the answer was of course yes. We have a wide range of information about the county, dating from recent years and reaching right back through to the stone age, with documents, photos, artefacts and information about local archaeological discoveries. We arranged to run four sessions with them to give them a chance to explore all we have on offer.

Community project Officer Rob Hedge demonstrates prehistoric flint

The children explored a range of themes from prehistoric settlements, landscapes and technologies; to the Roman world of the military and its empire of towns and cities; to the early medieval lives of villages and the cultures expressed through burial ritual, and finally to the high medieval periods of the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties.

Pupils look through 16th century book detailing Queen Elizabeth I's visit to Worcester

All four sessions employed hands-on, practical and visual resources, using artefacts, flint knapping, maps and reconstruction paintings to illustrate local and national archaeological sites. The children were very enthusiastic and we feel that this is partly because of the use of local evidence to investigate the KS2 curriculum-related themes of historical understanding: chronology, continuity & change, enquiry & perspective.

We received great feedback from the RGS teachers: "Thank you so much for all the fantastic sessions you led for us. What a huge variety of content you covered and a wide range of artefacts you shared with us".

An RGS Springfield pupil

If your school would like us to provide one or more sessions of a similar nature, dating from any historical period, please get in touch. Whether it is for archaeological exploration or the investigation of primary historical sources within our archive collections here at Explore the Past at The Hive, we will be happy to help.