Leeds set to host events to coincide with the national Festival of Archaeology

Caption: Curator of Archaeology, Katherine Baxter, holding an ancient Cypriot barrel jug in Leeds Discovery Centre. © Leeds Museums and Galleries

The fun, mystery and delights of archaeology are to be celebrated in this year’s Festival of Archaeology later this week.

As part of the Festival of Archaeology 2014 (Sat 12 – Sun 27 Jul), Leeds Museums and Galleries will be providing a range of events to enjoy at sites across the city for people of all ages.

Kicking off the festival is a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) themed workshop, which will provide those people with a passion or interest in historical investigations with a chance to participate in a number of activities using real human remains from the archaeology collections. Held at Leeds Discovery Centre this event is suitable for adults and children aged 7+ this event will be held on Saturday 12 July from 10am-12noon.

Since opening in 2008 Leeds City Museum has continued to celebrate a number of continents, and as part of its Ancient Worlds gallery, there is also the chance on Wednesday 16 from 2pm-4pm to handle money both ancient and modern, from places and regions across the world.

The atmospheric 12th century Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have seen their fair share of interesting and intriguing stories over the years, and on Thursday 24 July from 10-11.30am, this family event sees the chance to have a go at making make clay tiles that once adorned its floors hundreds of years ago.

Leeds has a proud industrial history, find out more about its heritage and archaeology as Leeds Industrial Museum and its landscape is explored and clues uncovered on these hour long tours on Saturday 26 July at 12noon and 2pm. In addition, on Friday 18 July 10am-12noon, Leeds Industrial Museum will also host a drop-in family event that explores how industrial buildings are excavated, with a chance handle real objects from the collections and explore how technology has developed from the Stone Age to the present day.

There are approximately 25,000 individual artefacts in the Leeds Museums and Galleries’ archaeology collection which includes Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities as well as native British, European and archaeological material. The archaeology collections enable Leeds Museums and Galleries to engage and excite people about their local and national heritage, as well as to explore ancient civilisations across the world. The collection is the most varied and comprehensive collection of archaeological objects and archives representing the lives of people in the Leeds area. As part of a packed education programme offered at all museum and gallery sites across the city, archaeological objects are regularly used and groups are very welcome to request tours of the Leeds Discovery Centre to see the archaeology collections currently residing behind the scenes.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"The Leeds Museums and Galleries archaeology collection is absolutely fantastic, and we are delighted to play our part in the festival starting on Saturday where a range of objects, pieces and artefacts will be showcased.

"There is a lot on offer, including a CSI themed Discovery workshop at Leeds Discovery Centre and landscape tour around Leeds Industrial Museum, and we hope anyone with a passion or interest for archaeology will take part.

“Given the sheer size of our archaeology collection it is simply not possible to display absolutely everything, but the good news is that if you book a tour of our Leeds Discovery Centre, this will offer a great flavour of what we have in our collections."

Notes to editors:

Booking is essential for some events, please check the website for details;


Leeds Museums and Galleries is Leeds City Council’s family of nine museum sites across the city and is responsible for looking after the collections of fine and decorative art, fashion and textiles, industrial and social history, natural science and much more. Housing and caring for Leeds' fantastic collections, the Leeds Discovery Centre is a state-of-the-art storage facility and centre for learning and exploration. All are welcome to visit the Discovery Centre for research or to see its unique resources. Leeds Discovery Centre is located 1.5 miles south from the city centre, near to the Royal Armouries Museum. Come along every Thursday for drop in tours showing the fantastic objects we hold (11am and 2pm) or book an appointment for a group tour (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm). Leeds Discovery Centre, Carlisle Road, Leeds, LS10 1LB. www.leeds.gov.uk/discoverycentre

Leeds Museums and Galleries’ archaeology collection: The historic core of the collections is made of objects collected by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society between the early 19th century and 1921, when the collections were transferred to the care of the Leeds City Council. These include high quality objects such as sculpture from Greece and the Greek islands, marbles from Italy, and a range of Egyptian objects including the mummy of the ancient Egyptian priest Nesyamun. There are also a number of important objects from Leeds itself, including fragments of the Anglo-Saxon Leeds Crosses, and the recently acquired West Yorkshire Hoard, made up of Anglo-Saxon period gold. Consequently the archaeological collection not only covers many thousands of years of history and prehistory but also represents a wide range of cultures and civilisations around the world.

Leeds Museums and Galleries still actively collect archaeological material today, in accordance with ethical guidelines. Most of the objects collected now are local and come in from development-led excavations within Leeds Metropolitan District – for example, excavations were carried out when the Bramham to Wetherby bypass was upgraded in 2007. Leeds Museums and Galleries also collect objects through the Treasure process and from members of the public who find objects in the local area, and report them to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The Festival of Archaeology 2014 runs from 12-27 July. Co-ordinated by the council for British Archaeology, the Festival offers over 1,000 events nationwide, organised by museums, heritage organisations, national and country parks, universities, local societies, and community archaeologists. www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk