TV ARCHAEOLOGIST Julian Richards will be delving into Portland’s past when he visits the island.

The presenter of the BBC series Meet the Ancestors has been invited to give a talk by the Association for Portland Archaeology.

The event has been organised as part of the Festival of British Archaeology, a fortnight-long extravaganza of heritage events that runs from July 16-31.

The aim of the annual festival is to encourage people, particularly the young, to visit sites of archaeological and historical interest, learn about their local heritage and take part in activities.

The Association for Portland Archaeology is supporting the initiative by opening up the Mesolithic site at Culverwell near the Bill on Sundays throughout the two-week period.

And it is delighted that Mr Richards has agreed to give a talk entitled Who Are Our Ancestors? at Community 2000 hall in Easton on Saturday, July 16.

Mr Richards is an archaeologist, writer and broadcaster with more than 30 years experience. He has a particular interest in Stonehenge.

His popular Meet the Ancestors programme for BBC2 was followed up with Blood of the Vikings.

Mr Richards has visited Portland a number of times and he presented the Radio 4 series Men of Stone about the island’s quarrying heritage.

Director of the association Susan Palmer said: “We are pleased that Julian Richards has accepted our invitation to come and speak.

“He’s very interested in Portland and has visited before when we were digging at the Weston Road site.

“I think his lecture will be of interest to everyone, not just academics. I’m sure people who are interested in Portland’s history will be fascinated by what he has to say.”

Mr Richards will almost certainly mention the excavation of the Culverwell site which is thought to be the oldest known site in Britain which was occupied all year round over a long period and is the first use of Portland stone by man.

The site, off Portland Bill Road, has been dated to 8,000 and 8,300 years old and is placed within the Mesolithic or middle stone age. Artefacts found there are now in the British Museum.

The talk by Julian Richards will be at 3pm on July 16. The number of seats are limited and tickets can be obtained in advance for £3 from Mrs Palmer on 01305 861576.