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18th July 2022

As part of the annual Festival of Archaeology, the largest volunteer-driven archaeological dig in the city this century will open to visitors on 23 July.

Built in the early years of the 1540's, Henry VIII's South Blockhouse can be viewed as a mirror against which the worries and anxieties of British monarchs, as well as national and local governments, were reflected for nearly 400 years.

Volunteers are spending the summer uncovering the story of this nationally important monument and as part of the Festival of Archaeology the site will be open to the public.

On Saturday 23 July, between 10.30am to 3pm, the team will be on hand to show visitors the archaeology, talk through the artefacts that have been recovered from the dig and to tell the story of this remarkable monument.

The team are revealing 19th century archaeology
This brick floor is over 200 years old

Councillor Paul Drake-Davis, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “The Open Day will offer visitors the chance to meet the team behind the excavation as well discover more about the Tudor monument, its significance and why the excavation is taking place. There could be some interesting discoveries!”

The South Blockhouse site will see approximately 50 per cent of the site exposed for the first time in over 150 years, with over 4,500 volunteer hours assisting the council’s in-house archaeological team, Humber Field Archaeology (HFA), over an 11-week programme.

Excavations have now started on site, near The Deep, with teams of volunteers on site Wednesday – Sunday each week until Saturday 17 September. After the open day public visitors will be able to drop in to see the dig between 11am and 3pm Wednesday – Sunday from 27 July.

This phase of the programme has been made possible by a £1million grant from National Highways, who have Government funding to deliver benefits to communities above and beyond maintaining and operating England’s strategic road network.

The South Blockhouse will compliment Hull Maritime, a locally led project funded by Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, a key cultural regeneration scheme in the heart of Hull’s city centre that will protect and celebrate 800 years of Hull’s maritime heritage.