Embracing the past at Dorchester’s heritage event

A new family event celebrating Dorchester’s neolithic, bronze and iron age landscape is being launched this month.

Home of Hillforts & Henges, which runs from July 21 to 31, looks at the people who have lived in the land rich in earthworks for 6,000 years.

We are proud to be a headline sponsor of the event, which begins at Dorset Museum in Dorchester with a free open evening on 21 July and talk on the famous Ridgeway Viking skeletons, discovered in 2009.

The 11-day event is part of the National Council For British Archaeology (CBA) Festival of Archaeology 2022 and activities will take place at multiple locations across the town.

The full programme includes lectures at the museum and a new archaeological dig at Thomas Hardy’s former home Max Gate which he built in 1884 unwittingly in the centre of a late Neolithic enclosure, now known as Flagstones.

Other highlights co-ordinated by Discover Dorchester feature guided nature walks (including Maiden Castle and Outer Casterbridge), archaeological dowsing and Viking print making.

Home of Hillforts & Henges concludes on Sunday July 31 with the free festival Hengefest at ancient Maumbury Rings, a venue used by locals to celebrate special occasions for millennia.

Activities on the day include a pebble labyrinth, Viking axe throwing, Roman displays, Dorset hillforts & habitats, medieval grass billiards, bushcraft, animal handling, wild foraging and live music.

Blanchards Bailey, whose own history stretches back to 1924 (not quite Neolithic(!)), will be welcoming visitors on stands at the opening event and Hengefest and will be represented at other events.

Our Rosie Nye, Legal Secretary in our Residential Property Team, has a first class honours degree in archaeology and a masters by research in heritage practice, is thrilled to be taking part.

She said: “The festival acknowledges Dorset’s neolithic and prehistoric history and celebrates our past and cultural heritage. Dorchester has two iron age hillforts and three henges and we have had settlements here since the neolithic era.

“It is recognising that there has always been a presence in Dorset. It is quite incredible to think that the sites we have walked, such as Maiden Castle, would have been walked by iron age people, Romans, Elizabethans and more and have been marvelled at for centuries.

Ben Jones, Partner in the firm’s Litigation & Disputes Team, will be attending the launch event: “We have iconic views in here in Dorset as well as iconic historical attributes that make Dorchester utterly unique. This festival gives us a chance to reflect on our past.

“Blanchards Bailey is a firm that is incredibly engaged with local history, activities and events. Cultural heritage gives a community an ongoing identity through the generations, and we are very much part of our community… and proud to be so.”

Rosie, Ben and all the team are looking forward to welcoming you to the launch of Home of Hillforts & Henges on 21 July at 17:00 at Dorset Museum… and watch this space for our archaeology themed stand at Hengefest on 31 July! 

Blanchards Bailey

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