Performing the Past

Take part in events and activities showing Hengistbury Head as a scene of settlement and ceremony for more than twelve thousand years.

Introduction

The Performing the Past project aims to engage local people with the exceptional archaeology of Hengistbury Head through practical ‘learning by doing’ experimental archaeology. The generations of ancient people who lived on Hengistbury Head over the last 12,000 years practiced a wide variety of crafts to survive and thrive on the headland. 

Supported by the Heritage Fund and our Partner Bournemouth University

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Performing the Past is a three-year project that brings the archaeology of Hengistbury Head to life. It is supported by a grant of £44,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim is to bring about a step change in visitor awareness, to help protect the physical archaeological remains of this internationally important site. We are doing this through collective engagement in practical activities and experimental archaeology in partnership with archaeologists from Bournemouth University.  

Watch our Performing the Past Video

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Volunteering

We are building a friendly team of volunteers to help demonstrate a variety of ancient crafts to the wider public – such as pottery making, flint knapping, prehistoric cooking, metal forging and clothing.

Please watch our video

and then if you would like to get involved please fill out this form to let us know your interests.  You will be offered training so that you can pass on your knowledge and skills to the public. If you would like further information, please email Hayden.

Upcoming events

Saturday 9 March - Guided archaeology walk.

10:30-12:30pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

 

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a walk back through time, exploring the local history of Hengistbury Head, which spans from the end of the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Roman invasion of Britain. We will visit the different ancient sites of the headland and conclude with a visit to the Iron Age roundhouse that is currently being built at the Visitor Centre. The walk is approximately 1.6 miles on easy access paths, steep inclines, and declines in places. Please meet at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. £3 per adult. Children go free. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

 

Events you may have missed

Sunday 21 January - Guided archaeology walk.

10:30-12:30pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a walk back through time, exploring the local history of Hengistbury Head, which spans from the end of the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Roman invasion of Britain. We will visit the different ancient sites of the headland and conclude with a visit to the Iron Age roundhouse that is currently being built at the Visitor Centre. The walk is approximately 1.6 miles on easy access paths, steep inclines, and declines in places. Please meet at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. £3 per adult. Children go free. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

Monday 23 October 2023 - Archaeo-Astronomy Walk of the Dead.

7 pm– 9:45pm. meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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This event is a guided archaeology and astronomy walk, accompanied by ancient ghosts, to the top of Warren Hill and back. We will start at the Visitor Centre and travel back in time, past Bronze Age burial tombs and Neolithic burials to our earliest ancestors in the Palaeolithic. Please bring a blanket or cushion to sit on as we will sit at the top of Warren Hill and listen to stories about the night sky. The walk will include a steep incline and will be partially off-road. Adults £3, children £1. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

 

Friday 4 August till the 29 October – Performing the Past Gallary Exhibition. 

10am-4pm. Open to all at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. 

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre to see our Performing the Past Gallary and exhibition, celebrating four years of experimental archaeology at the Visitor Centre and featuring some new and exciting artefacts and projects. This hands-on, interactive exhibit will feature a gallery of craft projects, mannequins dressed in ancient clothing, a dress-up box of Iron Age clothes and a table of replica artefacts produced by volunteers over the last four years. Please come and get involved. Free of charge and great for children. School groups, please call 01202 128444 to arrange a visit. 

 

Saturday 12 August – Shooting Stars at Hengistbury Head with Parks in Mind. 

8.30pm-11.30pm. Open to all at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. 

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Join us for an evening of stargazing at the beautiful Hengistbury Head. Streaking meteors, the Milky Way, and Saturn should all be visible at the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. Joining us will be Bill Coombes, a Licensed Radio Amateur and NASA Ambassador. Bill will bring radio equipment to help us detect and hear the meteors even if some clouds appear. Bring a picnic chair or roll mat so you can relax and look up at the sky, and a blanket to keep warm. Please visit the eventbirte page to book tickets: Shooting Stars at Hengistbury Head with Parks in Mind Tickets, Sat 12 Aug 2023 at 20:30 | Eventbrite 

 

Tuesday 11 July - Guided archaeology walk.

2pm-4pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a walk back through time, exploring the local history of Hengistbury Head which spans from the end of the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Roman invasion of Britain. There will also be a short craft demonstration, weather pending, at the Mesolithic Hunter-gatherer site. The walk is approximately 1.6 miles on easy access paths, steep inclines, and declines in places. Suggested donation of £4. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

 

Saturday 15 July 2023 - Bronze casting demonstration.

11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre.

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Join us at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre to demonstrate how people alloyed molten copper and tin together to make bronze in the Iron Age over 2000 years ago! We will cast various objects, from ingots to coins, at temperatures over 1000 degrees Celsius, so don't miss out! Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space. 

 

Sunday 23 July –Astronomy Day with the Wessex Astronomical Society.

1.30pm onwards. In the Wildlife Garden at the Visitor Centre.

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Please Join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre with the Wessex Astronomical Society to explore the sky using telescopes and explore the wonders of the solar system. No booking required, please join us. 

 

Tuesday 13 June - Mixed Craft sessions and filming 

1pm-3pm - Meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a small series of ancient craft workshops and demonstrations where you will get the chance to have a go at Palaeolithic pigment making for cave art, Mesolithic flint knapping for arrow making, Neolithic pottery making and Iron Age cooking and food all in authentic, handmade costumes! Please be aware there will be filming on the day. Spaces are limited to 10 adults, so please call 01202 128444 to book a place. Suggested donation of £4 per adult

 

Thursday 13 April - Guided archaeology walk.

10.30am-12.30pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Find out what it was like living here in the Iron Age 2000 years ago and in the Stone Age over 12,500 years ago at Hengistbury Head! Please join us for a 1.6 mile guided walk up and around the headland, stopping at the major archaeological sites on the way. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

 

Sunday 16 April 2023 - Bronze casting demonstration.

10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre.

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Join us at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for an demonstration of how people alloyed together molten copper and tin to make bronze in the Iron Age over 2000 years ago! We will be casting a range of different objects, from ingots to belt buckels so dont miss out! Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space. 

Sunday 12 March 2023 - Iron smelting demonstration.

12pm-3pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre.

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Join us at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a demonstration of how people made iron from local iron ores in a craft that is 2,400 years old in Britain! We will be firing iron ores in a clay-built furnace at temperatures over 1000°C to create an iron bloom and lots of molten rock. We will attempt to reduce this mass of metal by hammering ready for forging into objects in future events. Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space. 

Saturday 25 February 2023 - Iron forging demonstration.

10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre.

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Join us at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for an demonstration of how people shaped red hit iron into objects and tools in a craft that is 2,400 years old in Britain! 

Saturday 22 January - A walk back in time to 12,000 years ago

10.30am - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or join us virtually on the day via Facebook Live 305x205_ironage trading305x205_archeology-walk-3

Find out what it was like living here in the Iron Age 2000 years ago, and how to survive as a Stone Age family 12,000 years ago - plus lots more!

Saturday 9 April - A walk back in time to 12,000 years ago

10am - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or join us virtually on the day via Facebook Live

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Find out what it was like living here in the Iron Age 2000 years ago, and how to survive as a Stone Age family 12,000 years ago - plus lots more!

Monday 18 April - Mixed Craft Day - Travel back in time 12,000 years ago

11am-3pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or join us virtually on the day via Facebook Live (from 2pm-3pm for the live video). 

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Join us in making Iron Age pottery & baking it in our Kiln, flint knapping to make Stone Age tools and weapons, prehistoric cooking and tasting, demonstrating ancient textiles and clothing and making pigments and paints and cave art!

Friday 3 June - Stone age camping - Tent building, fire-lighting, flint knapping

11am-12.30pm (morning session) or 1.30pm-3pm (afternoon session) meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. 

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Saturday 18 June - A walk back in time 12,000 years ago 

10am - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or join us virtually on the day via Facebook Live 305x205_26Apr21Walk305x205_textiles

Join us to take a walk across a landscape which has supported people for over 12,000 years! Connect with our ancestors through the excavations done by archaeologists on the Headland and the crafts people used to survive.

Monday 1 August - A walk back in time to 12,000 years ago 

10.30am - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or join us virtually on the day via Facebook Live

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Join us on a walk across Hengistbury Head and trace the footsteps of your ancestors who lived here 12,000 years ago.  What was it like living in the Stone Age as a hunter gatherer, making fire and hunting animals? Who were the Iron Age people living here on the edge of the harbour?  Come and meet our Performing the Past Volunteers who are bringing all this to life! Suitable for all the family.

Sunday 21 August - Stone age camping - Tent building, fire-lighting, flint knapping

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Join us for a fun session building a Stone Age camp, experimenting with fire making (no matches - just rubbing sticks!) and flint knapping just as our ancestors did at Hengistbury Head, 12,000 years ago. Fun for all the family. Morning slots are from 11am-12.30pm and afternoon slots from 1.30pm-3pm.

Saturday 24 September - Fun Archaeology Morning

10.30am-12.30pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Join us on a short guided walk to discover 2000 year old pottery, followed by an ancient craft demonstration and a personal guided tour of our new exhibition. Fun for all the family!

Saturday 22 October - Fun Archaeology Morning

10.30am-12.30pm - meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Join us on a short guided walk to discover 2000 year old pottery, followed by an ancient craft demonstration and a personal guided tour of our new exhibition. Fun for all the family!

Friday 28 October - Halloween Event - Excavate a Skeleton!

10am-12pm (morning session) or 2pm-4pm (afternoon session) 

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Join us on this Halloween event to excavate a skeleton! Guided by a bone specialist from Bournemouth University. You will excavate a replica skeleton using forensic techniques. You will help solve a 4,000 year-old very cold case. You will also receive a certificate.     

Friday 28 October - Halloween Event - Evening Astronomy & Archaeology Walk

7pm-9pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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 Walk in the footsteps of our Bronze Age Ancestors as they buried their dead in the Round Barrows at Hengistbury Head & Wick Village. What did they think about the night sky 4000 years ago? Full of promise or fear and superstition? Spooky, educational fun for all the family.

Our next event is...

Saturday 9 March - Guided archaeology walk.

10:30-12:30pm meet at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre

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Please join us at the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre for a walk back through time, exploring the local history of Hengistbury Head which spans from the end of the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Roman invasion of Britain.  Please call the Visitor Centre on 01202 128444 to book a space.

Events you may have missed

Take a look at what you've missed out on, please join us on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and events!

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