Home of Hillforts & Henges
Home of Hillforts & Henges is an exciting new event from 21st to 31st July that will celebrate Dorchester’s neolithic, bronze and iron age landscape, rich in earthworks and the people that have lived here for over 6,000 years.
The event is part of the National CBA Festival of Archaeology 2022 and activities will take place at multiple locations across the town. It will launch at Dorset Museum with a special open evening and a talk on the Ridgeway Vikings. An action-packed programme will include a series of lectures at Dorset Museum and a new archaeological dig at National Trust’s Max Gate with an opportunity to Meet the Archaeologist and have a go at sifting soil to discover finds.
There will be guided walks over the landscape (including Maiden Castle), antiquities handling and family crafts at Dorset Museum at weekends. The event concludes with an epic day of discovery and fun at Maumbury Rings with Hengefest on Sunday, 31st July where there will be animal handling, bushcraft, storytelling, nature crafts, music, performers and other activities that celebrate the sacred history of the space and its vibrant history.
The open countryside around Dorchester contains many ancient scheduled monuments and falls within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (DAONB). As well as demonstrating pride in our ancient heritage, Home of Hillforts & Henges aims to promote wellbeing and good mental health through appreciation and enjoyment of local nature.
Dorchester Town Council Tourism Development Officer, Matilda Manley, said: “Dorchester is a very special place, not many towns can boast two iron age hillforts and three neolithic henges! These are fantastic features of our town that we should be celebrating, and it is great that we are now doing that. Maiden Castle is one of the biggest hillforts in Europe! Maumbury Rings has such an amazing history, starting as a sacred henge then being adopted by Romans for use as an ampitheatre. It is a great space that is still used and loved. It is brilliant to be celebrating its history and importance to the town today”
More information can be found on the Discover Dorchester Facebook page.
Guided Tours, Walks and Activities
Event Launch: Museum After Hours
The Home of Hillforts & Henges event will launch at Dorset Museum with a special open evening: Museum after Hours
Thu 21st Jul - 5:00pm
Viking Print Making Workshop
Learn how to make Viking inspired prints using lino cutting to create your name and initials in runic writing, all materials and tools provided. Participants will leave with a Runic initial keyring and a print of their name.
Sat 23rd Jul - 10:00am
The History & Mystery of Maiden Castle
A guided tour of Maiden Castle to explore its origins, myths and legends with Gary Biltcliffe, author of ‘The Spirit of Portland’.
Sat 23rd Jul - 10:00am
Nature Walk: Poundbury Hillfort & The Great Field
A delightful family-friendly amble across Poundbury fields to enjoy the natural habitat and extensive views across the landscape
Sat 23rd Jul - 2:00pm
Dorchester Archaeological Dowsing Walk
Try your hand at Archaeological dowsing with Peter Emery, retired field Archaeologist
Sun 24th Jul - 10:00am
Outer Casterbridge: Hardy and History
Join Mark Chutter on a guided walk of Outer Casterbridge and the landscape with its Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age earthworks so familiar and beloved by Thomas Hardy
Sun 24th Jul - 1:00pm
Nature Walk: Maiden Castle
A delightful amble across Maiden Castle to enjoy the natural habitat and extensive views across the landscape
Sun 24th Jul - 2:00pm
What Lies Beneath Max Gate?
Livestream from Max Gate with National Trust archaeologist Martin Papworth; Hardy’s Wessex curator Harriet Still and Wiltshire Museum director David Dawson
Thu 28th Jul - 5:30pm
Tour of Dorchester Water Meadows
A guided walk across Dorchester's water meadows
Sat 30th Jul - 2:00pm
A family fun day in Maumbury Rings with activities that celebrate the sacred history of the space and its vibrant history - FREE ENTRY
Sun 31st Jul - 10:00am
Evening Lectures at Dorset Museum
The Ridgeway Vikings
A talk on the latest discoveries regarding the Viking skeletons discovered on the South Dorset Ridgeway
Thu 21st Jul - 7:00pm
The Extraordinary Prehistoric Landscape Under Your Feet And Up The Hills
Steve Wallis, County Archaeologist, explores the prehistoric landscape of the Dorchester area, covering the changes over time and the different types of monuments and remains.
Fri 22nd Jul - 7:00pm
The Magic & Myth of Water Meadows
Dr Kathy Stearne will give a talk at Dorset Museum on the origin and management of Water Meadows in Britain
Mon 25th Jul - 7:00pm
The Durotriges Project
Paul Cheetham will discuss the Durotriges Project undertaken by Bournemouth University examining the ancient British tribe that inhabited Dorset in pre-Roman times.
Tue 26th Jul - 7:00pm
VIP Archaeology: From the Neolithic to the Medieval, the archaeology of the Dorset Visual Impact Provision
John Boothroyd, Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology. will talk about his work on the Dorset Visual Impact Provision (VIP) to replace overhead lines with underground cable along the South Dorset Ridgeway
Wed 27th Jul - 7:00pm
‘Anciently a manor’: the medieval manor at Lower Putton Lane, Chickerell
Dr Clare explores the importance of the buildings, the finds and environmental evidence for understanding the medieval landscape of Dorset, the manor’s origins, development, connections and decline, as well as giving an insight into the lives of the people who lived there
Thu 28th Jul - 7:00pm
Hidden Patterns in the South Dorset Landscape
Jonathan Harwood talks about how the positions of churches in the South Dorset landscape reveal deliberate and meaningful patterns.
Fri 29th Jul - 7:00pm