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Hull Old Town to be transformed as FREE Festival of Archaeology returns for 2023

Hull’s medieval and Tudor History is to be celebrated, as the Festival of Archaeology returns for 2023.

Three events will be taking place in Hull’s Old Town across the weekend of Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July as part of the national Festival of Archaeology celebration. 

The free events will be ‘Medieval Mayhem’ at the Museums Quarter on High Street, ‘Telling Tales of Tudor Hull’ at the site of the South Blockhouse on Tower Street, and the ‘Back to Life Festival’ at Hull Minster and Trinity Square.  

All are free, drop-in events.

Portfolio holder for culture and leisure, Councillor Rob Pritchard, said: “There’s so much to do during the Festival, which has been popular during previous years.

“All the events are free, and you can turn up when you want. It’s yet another reminder of the fascinating history we have in our city.”

On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, from 11am to 4pm, the Museums Quarter will be transformed into a medieval encampment for ‘Medieval Mayhem’.

Visitors will come face-to-face with knights in armour, as the knights of the Medieval Combat Society display their skills during a series of demonstrations.

They will have the chance to delve deeper into what life was like in the medieval period by interacting with wandering medieval characters, enjoying live medieval music and pottery demonstrations, and exploring living history displays on everything from medicine to fletching and cooking. 

Throughout the weekend, visitors can take part in ‘have a go’ activities, making their own medieval inspired pottery, as well as creating their own rainbow dragon in a special activity to celebrate Pride in Hull. 

Finally, for a small fee, visitors can try their hand at archery to see if they’d have been a master medieval archer!

On Saturday and Sunday, 10am-3pm, over at the site of the South Blockhouse on Tower Street, visitors are invited to get creative and help tell the amazing story of Tudor Hull. 

Visitors will have the opportunity to handle real artefacts from the site and talk to archaeologists to discover the stories behind the South Blockhouse. 

They’ll be able to learn more about Hull’s maritime past and discover what it was like to navigate the Humber Estuary in Tudor times. 

Families are invited to make a model sailing boat and test its seaworthiness in the drainpipe channel challenge, and they can also make their own Tudor clothing in a craft activity in association with ScrapStore.

On Saturday 29 July, 10am-3pm, Hull Minster will be bringing its monuments back to life in an immersive, interactive experience for the whole family. 

Visitors are invited to experience the tastes, smells, sights, and sounds of the church as it would have been in the 1400s and meet actors who will be breathing life into some of Hull’s key historical figures. 

They can explore archaeological discoveries, and handle objects from the Castle Street excavations, meeting historical figures who were involved in its management in the 1800s.  

They’ll cover a range of topics including grave robbing, health in Hull, the history of the church, and have the chance to see historic medical exhibits. 

On loan from the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds, they’ll find glass eyes, prosthetic limbs, medical tools and a skeleton to rebuild. 

The day will include a heritage craft market along with arts and crafts for all ages, face painting, and much more. Find out more at

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