A MAJOR celebration of the 800,000 years of history beneath our feet is taking place next month with free events across the area.

The 2013 Festival of Archaeology aims to highlight the general public’s role in archaeological discovery, and offers local residents and holidaymakers the chance to get their hands on history between July 13 and 28.

Organised by York-based educational charity the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), the 23rd annual festival has activities arranged by organisations such as York Museums Trust, The Yorkshire Dales National Park, Thackray Medical Museum, English Heritage, community groups and local experts.

Real archaeological digs, behind-the-scenes tours, guided walks and special exhibitions are included along with fun family activities, excavations and workshops, re-enactments and finds identification days.

Organisers hopes to highlight the importance of people recognising their role in archaeological discovery to make the most of our unique landscape. Dr Mike Heyworth, CBA director, said: “Archaeology is key to understanding who we are as humans, where we have come from and where we might be going.

“Traces of that history are all around us, dating back almost 800,000 years to the first signs of early humans in the UK. But if that evidence is not properly looked out for, or its significance is not understood by the public, we risk losing it forever.”

For festival details visit www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/whatson


• Saturday, July 12, Glass Visions, Archaeology & Medieval, 10am to 7.30pm, All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, Free.

• Saturday, July 13 - 28, Ghost Trail Of York 7.30pm to 8.45pm, Meet at York Minster West Door (£4, children £2).

• Saturday, July 13 to 21, The Skelton Story, Church And Village, 10am to 4pm (weekdays), noon to 4.30pm (Sundays), St Giles’ Church, Skelton, featuring the history of a North Yorkshire village and church.

• Saturday/Sunday July 20 and 21, 11am to 3pm, Secrets & Symbols, Holy Trinity Church,Goodramgate, York. Free.

• Saturday/Sunday 20 and 21 July, open day at Holgate Windmill, Windmill Rise, 11am to 4pm. £3, children £1.

• Saturday 20 July to Sunday, September 1, Hands On History For Children – Medieval Dressing Up, 11am to 5pm, Clifford’s Tower, York

• Saturday July 20 to Sunday, September 1, Abbey Quest, 10am to 6pm, Rievaulx Abbey, Rievaulx, Seek out the monks within the ruins of the abbey church, cloisters and chapter house as they depict daily life of the medieval abbey.

• Saturda, July 20 to Saturday, August 18, Hilarious History, 11.30am to 4.30pm, Scarborough Castle, Join entertainers for a humorous look at history.

• Saturday and Sunday, July 20 to 21, Yorkshire Roman Festival, 10am to 4pm, Sledmere House, Sledmere, Driffield .Free.

• Friday, July 26, Pinhole Camera Activity Day, 10.30am to 2.30pm, York Cold War Bunker, Monument Close, York. Free. Cold War Cinema, 10.30am to noon and 1pm to 2.30pm. Free.