July 13th marks the beginning of the Festival of British Archaeology for 2019! A celebration of all the great archaeological discoveries across Great Britain from Roman remains to Viking settlements, we’ve got an abundance of amazing history right on our doorsteps. To celebrate this, we’ve compiled a list of our best archaeological visits in the UK, as well as some of the best archaeological visits across Europe.
If you’re planning a school trip in the next school year, why not try a unique outdoor history lesson at one of these fantastic archaeological sites.
Jorvik Viking Centre
If you’re looking for the perfect UK destination for an outdoor classroom, then look no further than York. The rich historical influence felt in the city dates back to the Roman Empire, as well as significant sites linking to both Viking and Anglo-Saxon occupation. From the City Walls to massive archaeological discoveries such as Jorvik, York is a verified archaeological playground with tonnes to offer any keen history student, as well as immersive experiences that will appeal to every student in your group.
Jorvik Viking Centre is one of York’s crowning jewels, particularly for school trips visiting the area. On this immersive ride-through experience, your students will get a sense for what life was like in York during the time of Viking settlements in the area. Complete with sights, sounds and even smells, this immersive visitor centre is built on top of the remains of a Viking settlement, discovered and excavated during the 1970’s. As well as the reconstructed settlement, your students can explore artefacts and remains from the dig as well as developing an understanding for how Viking communities lived, worked and even socialised. A journey through this unique attraction is an experience that is sure to live with your students for years to come, and one that will definitely spark involvement in the classroom.
York’s archaeological attraction doesn’t stop at Jorvik, far from it! DIG York is another fantastic experience for students, bringing archaeology to life for them with interactive and engaging activities. At DIG York your students can turn back the clock for themselves, to uncover over 2000 years of the city’s unique historical sites and historical tapestry. On this interactive experience your students can roll their sleeves up and get stuck into their very own archaeological adventure, exploring the hidden secrets of York’s former inhabitants. Archaeological experts are on hand to guide your students through the exciting origins of their discoveries as they uncover artefacts and objects from archaeological pits on site. DIG York is the perfect interactive experience for introducing your students to the significance of UK history and the thousands of years’ worth of history we have on our doorsteps.
Although York Minster is a staple of any visit to the city earning its place as York’s most famous landmark, today we’re talking about what sits below the Minster, waiting to be discovered in the ‘Undercroft Museum’. Beneath the cathedral there is a museum which follows the history of this site from Roman ruins through to the Minster’s unlikely link to Viking settlements in the area. In this underground museum your students can rewind the last two millennia of York’s diverse and intriguing history, exploring archaeological discoveries from varying centuries. One of the most impressive elements of this small but punchy museum are the remains of a former Roman Barracks which hide underneath this monumental structure.
This museum will take your students on a journey through life in ‘Eboracum’ one of the first Roman settlements in the city, through to the discovery of York’s powerful significance as a Viking and Anglo-Saxon powerhouse, as well as discovering the foundations of the building which date back to Norman Britain. If the York Minster is on your must-see list, we definitely recommend venturing underneath to see what you and your students will discover on your school trip!
Tutankhamun ‘Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh’ – Saatchi Gallery London
Amongst the most memorable periods in human history is that of Ancient Egypt, an ancient civilisation that paved the way for the progression of modern man and pioneered many inventions and discoveries we take for granted today. This ancient civilization is awash with iconic and recognisable imagery, none more so than that of the mummification process and the significance of the ‘re-birth’ within Egyptian Mythology. Tutankhamun is one of the most widely discussed Pharaoh’s of Ancient Egypt, and undoubtedly the most famous of all Ancient Egyptian figures. Bizarrely, until the discovery of his exquisitely preserved tomb, there was little known about this ancient king and it took the discovery of this tomb to shine a light on who Tutankhamun was, the life he led and the events which led to his untimely death, aged just 19.
The discovery and excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb was one of the most extraordinary discoveries in modern history and a bona fide archaeological milestone. Discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, these ancient treasures, artefacts and relics have been amazing generations ever since. The treasures of this tomb, alongside a collection of further artefacts are being shown in the UK for the final time between November 2019 and May 2020. The Saatchi Gallery in London is playing host to this amazing collection allowing visitors to marvel at the ornate antiques of Ancient Egypt’s Royal Crypts and get a rare and intimate look at the personal possessions and artefacts once belonging to this famous Pharaoh. This is the last chance for your students to witness this amazing collection at home in the UK before King Tutankhamun’s treasures return home to Egypt, where they will stay permanently. This exhibition and ones similar to it have drawn enormous attention in previous years so we recommend acting quickly if you would like to treat your students to the experience of a lifetime and book a school trip to London for this amazing event.
When we think of historic cities across the globe it’s almost impossible not to consider Rome, a city that has marinated in almost 2000 years of history to become a rich, cultural hub and one of Europe’s best loved cities. Bursting with spectacular history and religious significance Rome has witnessed some of the most incredible moments in human history, with stories oozing out of the very buildings aching to be told. This history amongst its fantastic atmosphere and modern architecture make Rome the ultimate al fresco classroom you’ll want to stay in forever.
The ghost of a once great Roman Empire whistles through the streets of Rome amongst the many ruins and remains of this ancient civilization. One of the most iconic scenes ‘Ancient Rome’ conjures up is that of the Colosseum, the famous amphitheatre nestled within a city where ancient and modern co-exist beautifully. This colossal structure earned its spot amongst the 7 wonders of the world in 2007 and is the undisputed landmark of Rome, with it coming some 2,000 years of history and culture. Standing in its current site since 80AD the colosseum is a testament to the advanced level of engineering and construction developed by the Ancient Romans and an excellent example of the huge role this civilisation played in the progression of mankind.
In its heyday the Colosseum was the pinnacle of social activities in the city, allowing upwards of 50,000 spectators to fill its seats and watch some of Rome’s finest spectacles, from Gladiator battles to sophisticated dramas, remaining an active and integral part of Roman culture for over 500 years. Today the Colosseum stands alongside the Vatican City as one of Rome’s most visited locations, withstanding earthquakes and even WWII bombings to stand proudly amongst the history of its city and give future generations the chance to explore its fascinating walls.
The Roman Forum
When in Rome, your next fantastic experience lays just around the corner from your last, with countless opportunities to discover and explore the city’s rich history. Although the Colosseum is no doubt the most recognised area of Ancient Roman influence, there’s so much more to Rome’s history than this one site.
A stone’s throw away from the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, creating the complete experience of this once thriving ancient civilization in its present-day setting. This former hub would have been as busy as any UK city centre is today, with residents going about their daily life amongst the hustle and bustle of this ancient city. This ancient forum would have served as a public area for the people of Rome and been the epicentre of all activities, be they religious, political or economic. These areas were commonplace amongst all the Roman settlements and cities within this vast Empire, but none as grand and decadent at the Roman Forum in the Empire’s capital. Despite its substantial age much of the splendour of this site can be seen today, making it easy for your students to imagine what this spectacular site would have looked like thousands of years ago.
Sorrento and Amalfi Coast
Pompeii & Herculaneum
Nestled within Naples you will find one of the most astounding and important archaeological sites in the world, the ruins of the Ancient city of Pompeii. This beautifully preserved and vast site is as haunting as it is captivating and serves as a fantastic lesson in both history and geography. Once a thriving community, the destructive force of a volcanic eruption changed Pompeii from another bustling Roman city to a city preserved in history as a notorious site of natural destruction.
In 79 AD the city of Pompeii would be coated under a thick and deadly blanket of volcanic ash that would preserve in time both the city and those unfortunate enough to be there upon the fatal eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This unfortunate event allows your students to step into an almost perfectly preserved piece of Ancient Rome, unparalleled anywhere else in the world. On this fantastic excursion you and your students will be able to walk the streets of an ancient city, exploring the homes of former residents, visiting local shops, bakeries and discovering what life was like in Ancient Rome, in a totally immersive experience. New to this already wonderful experience are ‘VR Tours’ which use virtual reality technology to rebuild and restore Pompeii to its former state, allowing your group to seamlessly step between the past and the present on their self-guided tour of the ancient city. These enhanced tours truly take this experience to the next level, enabling your students to fully immerse themselves in the history and significance of this site and understand the differences and similarities between their lives and the lives of those in Ancient Rome.
Another site whose story runs almost parallel to that of Pompeii is Herculaneum. This lesser known but equally impressive example of archaeological discovery and natural phenomenon is located closer to Mount Vesuvius, allowing any geography students amongst your group to document the different effects of the eruption between the two sites. Herculaneum is the perfect counterpart to any school trip in this region, as it offers a similar but unique and astonishing experience to that of Pompeii. Unlike Pompeii Herculaneum was covered almost instantly by the volcanic debris and ash from Vesuvius, perfectly preserving the city in an instant. These two visits are perfect for budding historians discovering ancient civilisations or geographers who want to explore our natural world.
If you’re interested in awakening your students’ inner Indiana Jones on one of these fantastic archaeological experiences get in touch with a member of the Adaptable Travel team today. We’ll help you decide on the right trip for your group based on their curriculum and their stage making sure both you and your students get the most out of your school trip experience.
Alternatively, if you’ve got your mind set on a school trip for your students simply request a quote and we’ll work with you to create the perfect itinerary.
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