Festival of Archaeology at John Lewis Leicester

Every July the Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology sees over a hundred activities – guided walks, talks, events and exhibitions.

Now, for the first time, the John Lewis store in Leicester’s Highcross retail quarter will play host to an exhibition from 3rd to 30th July, along with a series of weekend popup events.

The exhibition, created by archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services, will tell the story of the archaeology revealed by the excavations between 2003 and 2006 in advance of the construction of the Highcross.

It will highlight the Roman townhouse under the John Lewis car park; the best evidence of Anglo-Saxon Leicester in the form of buildings and finds where Pizza Express stands; the ‘lost’ church of St Peters under the John Lewis store itself; and the backyard brewery that served a medieval alehouse on Highcross Street.

Over three weekends the exhibition will be accompanied by events from local heritage groups.

  • Over the weekend of 8th and 9th July, the Prehistoric Workshop will show how everyday objects were produced thousands of years ago.
  • On July 15th, Oadby and Wigston Fieldworkers will showcase their finds with associated children’s events.
  • On July 16th the Portable Antiquities Roadshow will talk about the scheme which records finds made by the public.
  • While over the weekend of July 22nd and 23rd archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services will bring finds, activities, and even some Roman-style armour to try on!

Peter Liddle, Festival Co-ordinator, said: “We are very excited by the opportunity to bring archaeology into a different environment and publicise the Festival to the customers of John Lewis.”

Bob Gill, Branch Manager for John Lewis Leicester, added: “We are huge fans of the festival and are excited to host the exhibition celebrating the heritage of our fabulous city. Whether you’re a honed-historian, or just interested in our community, these events will have something for everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to John Lewis Leicester.

The full Leicestershire and Rutland Festival of Archaeology programme can be accessed via the button below.

It is part of the national Festival of Archaeology run by the Council for British Archaeology.