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Archaeology at the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival

last modified Feb 05, 2014 10:36 AM
The programme of events for the 20th Cambridge Science Festival has been launched. Over 250 events will take place as part of the festival in March 2014, including opportunities to delve into the forensic science techniques used by archaeologists.


The Cambridge Science Festival offers members of the public the opportunity to explore and discuss scientific research in one of the country's largest celebrations of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over 30,000 people attended over 200 events as part of last year's festival, most of which were free to attend.

This year, the Science Festival takes place from Monday 10th until Sunday 23rd March 2014, on the theme of 'structures and patterns', and there will be a wide range hands-on activities and thought-provoking discussions for people of all ages. Amongst some of the big names lined up is the University of Cambridge's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, who will consider what the next big issues are in science alongside other leading academics. The Radio 4 science comedian, Robin Ince, will have an entertaining look at the supposed conflict between the arts and the sciences, and the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, will be exploring the creation of our universe and the possibility of others existing. 

Each Science Festival, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research opens its doors for a fun and hands-on look at 'Archaeological Science' for all the family. Drop-in from 10:30am until 4pm on Saturday 15th March 2014 to find out about the scientific techniques employed to analyse bones, stones, hair, shells, pots and prehistoric plants to discover more about the past - like forensic scientists reconstructing what happened from the evidence at a crime scene.

The Museum of Classical Archaeology is running a couple of events aimed at budding young scientists. Children aged 7-11 can find out about Classical architecture in 'Terrific Temples' on Saturday 15th March (11am-12:30pm) and children aged 4-6 can learn about the pigments used to paint Greek and Roman statues in 'Colourful Creations' on Saturday 22nd March (11am - 12 noon).

On both Friday 14th (5-7pm) and Saturday 15th March (2-4pm), the Fitzwilliam Museum will be offering the chance to handle objects from across the Cambridge Museums and learn about how they are conserved and preserved in 'Conservation Conversations'. Antiquties conservators at the Fitzwilliam will also be talking about making and investigating the first synthetic pigment in a talk on Wednesday 12th March (1:15-2pm), 'Stalking Egyptian Blue'. Continuing the theme of curation, there will be a panel discussion on Thursday 20th March (6-7:30pm) at the Scott Polar Research Institute on the topic of 'The Art and Science of Curation'.

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology © Cambridge University

Throughout the Cambridge Science Festival, the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology will be showcasing their current exhibition called 'Chiefs and Governors: art and power in Fiji', with guided tours from 3-3:45pm on Friday 14th March and friday 21st March. Using artefacts in the museum's Fijian collection, there will a talk about the use and meaning of decorative patterns titled 'Powerful Patterns' on Thursday 20th March (5:30-6:30pm).

You can download the full Cambridge Science Festival programme here.

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