About the Festival

The CBA Festival of Archaeology incorporates hundreds of in-person and virtual events delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, commercial units, and more.

It promotes involvement in archaeology through flagship days such as “A Day in Archaeology” and “Youth Day” and allows individuals to get involved from wherever they are, all year round, through our wide range of downloadable resources. Through the Festival, the CBA helps over half a million people to participate in archaeology, explore stories of place, and connect with the environment around them.  



The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2024 – the perfect opportunity for us all to celebrate the incredible grassroots groups, societies, and individuals that share a passion for archaeology across the UK. 


At its heart, archaeology is all about people and how we explore and interpret the past through the lens of the present day. Archaeology has the unique ability to bring people from all walks of life together through our shared sense of community – what it meant in the past, what it means to us now, and how we can shape our future. 


During the 2024 Festival of Archaeology, we hope to celebrate ‘community’ in all its forms. From collaborative approaches to archaeological projects to sharing archaeology with others and creating new opportunities for people to explore the places they live through archaeology, the very groups, societies, and organisations that make up archaeology in the UK today. So come and join us in 2024 and celebrate your community, your activities, and your archaeology. Over our 80th Anniversary let's make the biggest possible noise about archaeology and community.

If you want to find out more about how you can get involved in the Festival of Archaeology contact the team at [email protected].  


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Code of Conduct 

The CBA ask all event organisers and participants to abide by the CBA Code of Conduct. You can find the Code of Conduct on the CBA website here or download a PDF below.  

Meet the Festival Team

Debbie Frearson

Debbie Frearson

Festival Coordinator

I have been part of community archaeology both as a professional and volunteer since I became involved in heritage about 20 years ago. Prior to this I was a Corporate PA. I was renovating a house with an 1888 datestone when I came across an old railway map dated 1838 which had my property on it. This coincided with a local college leaflet arriving advertising GCSE archaeology, how to use archives and investigate your property and that was it… I was hooked. I went on to take a BA in Archaeology and Landscape History as a mature student, followed by a Masters in Archaeology which I finished in 2016.  I am now a part time practice based PhD researcher at the University of Leicester focusing on Community Archaeology in the East Midlands, which fits in well with my part time role as the Festival of Archaeology Coordinator

During the degree other students went abroad for placement but I had a young family so started volunteering at Rutland County Museum cataloguing their archaeology store, and also started an after-school club. I volunteered with the CBA East Midlands group and organised their events programme. As part of the University of Leicester Archaeology outreach team I organised school and community events alongside training students in public engagement. Each of these included taking part in the Festival of Archaeology and offering events.

I still have a strong volunteering commitment  I have been the Leicestershire Young Archaeologists’ Club joint leader, Secretary of Hallaton Fieldwork Group and I was the Chair of the Rutland Local History Society for ten years. More recently I have been involved in community group training, developing and delivering a project with CBA East Midlands, which recently won a Commendation from the Archaeology Training Forum. 

For me, the Festival embodies everything I love about archaeology. It is all about grass roots organisations and individuals showcasing what they are passionate about and are actively doing, alongside the professional and commercial organisations showcasing their skills. It is a window into archaeology for the world to look through and enjoy as a one off or through continued participation as a new or seasoned follower.

[email protected]
Dr Claire Corkill

Dr Claire Corkill

Development Manager

Growing up on the Isle of Man meant I was introduced to archaeology at a pretty young age. You couldn’t really avoid passing an archaeological site on our family Sunday afternoon walks and with my dad and grandad both passionate about Manx heritage I guess the direction my career would take was pretty inevitable. 

My first digging experience was at 16, volunteering at an excavation at Billown run by Bournemouth University before heading to the University of York where I got my degree in archaeology. I then returned to the Isle of Man to do an MA in Manx Studies while working as a research assistant at the Centre for Manx Studies, a small multi-disciplinary research unit that was part of Liverpool University. Working with an incredible team of volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds was one of the highlights of this role along with the opportunities to work with collaborate with researchers from across Europe studying a diverse range of subjects covering everything from traditional music to sustainable geotextiles.

I returned to York to do a PhD looking at the archaeology of First World War internment before starting work at the CBA. Since 2019 I have been project managing the Festival of Archaeology. I also coordinate the CBA's event programme throughout the year including the delivery of the Archaeological Achievement Awards and sit on the CBA's Executive Team. Alongside my work I occasionally still dip my toe in academic waters with research on more contemporary archaeology such as the Isle of Man TT races and the evolution of sites associated with fairies and folklore. 

[email protected]
Jim Butler

Jim Butler

Events Officer

My background is in museums and heritage learning and events, managing learning services for Leicester Museums, York Museums Trust and the Holocaust Centre North. In 2015, I organised and led all the University of Leicester’s public-facing activities for the reinterment of Richard III, including schools’ programmes, open days, and the Departure Ceremony, which was watched by a global audience of millions.

Although not a trained archaeologist, my passion for archaeology goes back to my childhood when my mum would take me into Leicester’s Jewry Wall Museum and Roman Bath site on our weekly trips into town to do the family food shop.  Since then, I have been fascinated with archaeology and history, especially that of my hometown of Leicester.  During the Covid lockdowns of 2020 I began a YouTube channel called Hidden Histories of Leicester, which explores the city’s over 2,000 year history through its rich archaeology and, in 2021, the channel was even shortlisted for a CBA Archaeological Achievement Award.

As well as developing and managing large-scale events, I lead guided walks and cycle-rides of historic Leicester, work with community groups to help engage audiences with local history and heritage through exhibitions and events, and am the Honorary Secretary of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society.

I’m so excited to be working with the awesome CBA team on their year round events.  As ever, the Festival is already getting jam-packed full of hands-on, engaging, fascinating and fun events for all ages! What’s even better is that it’s clear that event organisers have embraced this year’s theme, which I think will really capture our diverse audiences’ imaginations. Hope to see you out and about at one of this year’s festival events in July!

[email protected]

What's the Festival About?


Discover what the Festival is all about through our video, filmed at the 2023 Festival opening event at Powis Castle, Wales.