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Going public: taking archaeology to the people

Posted on 18 November 2011

Writer and broadcaster Michael Wood is the keynote speaker at a major conference at the University of York that aims to examine the relationship between archaeology and the wider public.

The University's Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) has organised the event, titled Archaeology and the Material Past in the Public Realm, at the King's Manor in York on 23 November.

Engagement with the public is vital if we want to show people how compelling, and important the past can be

Michael Wood

Michael Wood will speak about his recent BBC television series The Story of England which used the community history of the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire to provide a unique perspective of the history of the nation. The broadcaster will also talk about his next project an eight-part social history of Britain which is due to be broadcast in Olympic year 2012.

Michael Wood said: "Engagement with the public is vital if we want to show people how compelling, and important the past can be. The project at Kibworth drew the village together in the present at the same time as showing them how the remains of the past were all around them."

Professor Helen Weinstein, of IPUP, said: "We're extremely glad to have Michael Wood with us. The Story of England was absolutely ground-breaking, using members of the public to explore the past of their own village, through archaeology and history. Community-driven projects like this are becoming an increasingly important for empowering members of the public to explore their identity through the history of the places in which they live."

The conference, jointly sponsored by the University’s Department of Archaeology and the York Archaeological Trust, will also showcase recent community archaeology projects in York. Speakers will reflect on work done by volunteers at both the Hungate site in the city centre, and at Heslington East, on the site of the University of York's campus expansion.

The conference is at 1.30pm on 23 November in the Philip Rahtz Lecture Theatre at the King's Manor. Tickets are not required and places are free, but visitors should arrive early to be sure of a seat. 

For further information and the programme, please go to:

Notes to editors:

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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