History enthusiasts will be given a rare opportunity to see archaeology in action in our very own county town.

The 27th Festival of Archaeology, coordinated yearly by the Council for British Archaeology, showcases the very best of British archaeology by presenting special events hosted by museums, heritage organisations, universities, societies and community archaeologists all over the UK. 

Dorset County Museum will host a variety of events including a rare opportunity to tour the museum’s archaeology store to seeing archaeology in action with the cleaning and the analysis of the skeleton of the Whitcombe Warrior. 

Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see a whole range of archaeological artefacts that aren’t normally on display.

“In the past these tours completely sold out as so many people were interested in coming along – we hope it will be even more popular this year.”

Dorset County Museum has seven events taking place over the two-week festival – from July 15 to July 30. On Monday, July 17 and Friday, July 21 there will be guided tours of the Ancient Dorset Gallery at 11am and 2.30pm, which tells the fascinating story of the past of the ancient peoples living in this county, from the Lower Palaeolithic Age three million years ago to 1066AD. 

On Tuesday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 25 there will be store tours of All Saints Church. This is where thousands of archaeology artefacts are stored. Places are limited and must be reserved.

On Wednesday, July 19 David Ashford and Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen will be available from 10am to 1.30pm to help visitors identify archaeological finds. 

On Monday, July 24 Dr Clare Randall will be cleaning the Whitcombe Warrior plus plenty of activities relating to archaeology in the Ancient Dorset Gallery.

The Whitcombe Warrior is a rare example of a Late Iron Age burial which includes a sword. The Warrior was buried in a small cemetery near Whitcombe, just before or around the time of the Roman invasion, in a style which is unique to Dorset and is associated with the local tribe, the Durotriges. 

Dorset County Museum is taking the opportunity during the festival to give the Warrior a clean, but rather than take him off display to do this, staff are going to do the work in the gallery which will give visitors the opportunity to see the remains slightly closer up and discuss them with Dr Randall. 

This is a chance to find out more about the Late Iron Age people of Dorset and their health, disease and burial rituals as well as how we can deduce information from bones. There will be objects of the period to handle and the chance to drop in and chat while the work goes on.

To book your place call 01305 756827 or visit dorsetcountymuseum.org