Time Team's Phil Harding to lead Hidden Somerset archaeological festival at Uphill church

Phil Harding, star of Channel 4’s Time Team, will help lead a week of free public archaeology events at St Nicholas’ Church in Uphill, Somerset, from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th September, as part of The Churches Conservation Trust’s annual Hidden Somerset digs.

Throughout the week visitors will be able to take part in excavations of the medieval church. Visitors of all levels of experience are invited to work alongside a team of professional archaeologists as they run a range of interactive sessions. Onsite training will be available.

The events are being dedicated to the memory of Harding’s former colleague, the late Mick Aston, who was a keen supporter of The Churches Conservation Trust’s Hidden Somerset archaeological projects, and led the digs himself at Holcombe remaining involved in the project until his death in June 2013. Harding will be on site from Tuesday to Thursday, leading sessions excavating the nave of the church.

The festival will see showcases of a number of cutting edge archaeological techniques, including:

  • Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), allowing experts to read otherwise illegible stone carving;
  • Metric surveying, which uses a cloud of lasers fired from an electronic theodolite to record details of the building;
  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveying, which collects data from beneath the ground;
  •  Aerial laser surveying (UAV), which will see a drone flying around the site, examining it from above.

On Saturday 12th September, a series of talks will explain the findings from the week and regular tower tours will take place throughout the day.

The Churches Conservation Trust’s Neil Rushton, who is leading the project with Harding, said:

“We’re delighted that Phil will be joining us in the trench at St Nicholas’ Church Uphill for what looks set to be a fantastic week of archaeology. Best of all, everyone is invited to join us and get their hands dirty learning about the hidden history of the Weston-Super-Mare area.

“At The Churches Conservation Trust, we believe that archaeology belongs to everyone and we hope to see plenty of new faces on the dig.  It promises to be much more interesting than Banksy’s theme park and best of all, it’s completely free. We’re even offering visitors a rare chance to climb the tower at St Nicholas’.“

St Nicholas’ Church is one of 347 English churches in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity protecting historic churches at risk.

The full programme is as follows: 

  • Mon 7th September 2015, 2pm - 4pm, - Excavations / Laser Scanning / UAV Survey / Metric Survey
  • Tue 8th September 2015, 10am - 4pm - Excavations / Laser Scanning / UAV Survey / Metric Survey
  • Wed 9th September 2015, 10am - 4pm - Excavations / Laser Scanning / UAV Survey / Metric Survey
  • Thu 10th September 2015, 10am - 4pm - Excavations / Laser Scanning / UAV Survey / GPR Survey
  • Fri 11th September 2015, 10am - 4pm - Excavations / Laser Scanning / GPR Survey / RTI Photography
  • Sat 12th September 2015, 10am - 4pm - Talks and tower tours

Members of the public are invited to join any of the sessions listed. All sessions are free to attend and tools are provided. Visitors with no archaeological experience are welcome. If you would like to book a place please call 0117 929 1766 or email nrushton@thecct.org.uk.