Redcliff Quarter Archaeological Open Day

The Redcliff Quarter Archaeological Open Day was held on Saturday 15th September. Celebrating Bristol Open Doors and Heritage Open Days weekend we opened the site gate at 10am for a chance to see behind the scenes of the ongoing archaeological excavations in Redcliffe. Accompanied by our pop-up exhibition at St Mary Redcliffe Church, visitors could hear about our recent discoveries and striking finds unearthed from the site situated between Redcliff and St Thomas Street.

Woman standing in a church next to a display cabinetWith the sun shining brightly and archaeologists from OCA on hand to guide and answer any questions, this was one of many events taking place across Bristol celebrating the rich archaeological heritage. The site formed part of an archaeological themed trail, linking with Kings Western Roman Villa and Bristol Castle and Vaulted Chambers.

On site visitors could come and see our archaeologists in action and hear more about the ongoing excavations. A viewing platform was installed within the site, accompanied by information boards and archaeologists were on hand to discuss and answer any questions. Colour-coded flags were also used within the excavation area, to differentiate between features and complex phases within the site.

On top of all this we showcased further information about Redcliffe and its medieval past within our pop-up exhibition. Holding such an event with a Listed Building and working church does come with challenges and, with the help of many individuals over the course of the weekend, we were able to transform the space into a busy archaeological hub. Our in-house team worked tirelessly to produce a diverse handling collection and display using finds from site and separated the display cabinets into five themes linking with the site (Domestic, Industrial, Personal, Mystery Finds etc.). Bespoke activities for both children and adults alike were created for the event, with ‘make your own medieval soap’ featuring again in Bristol due to popular request.

entry to the visitor's bridge over the excavation area; in the foreground two women , smiling, standing on both sides of the gateWhen the site gates finally closed at 4pm on the Saturday we had welcomed 662 people onto site and 3,500 people visited us in St Mary Redcliffe Church. The exhibition continued to be a success with visitors even returning for a second visit on the Sunday to ask more questions and handle finds they couldn’t the day before. Thank you to everyone who came to visit us over the course of the weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of you and hope to see you at the forthcoming lecture series.

OCA is dedicated to delivering outreach and community engagement programmes, using both on and off-site approaches and digital technology, to help widen access for engagement and participation for communities and their heritage. OCA are committed to continuing to engage and connect local communities and their heritage, and feedback is always sought after. Do contact us at

A special thank you must be mentioned to St Mary Redcliffe, Galliford Try and Redcliff Quarter for their continuing efforts as part of the ongoing programme on site.

view of the visitor's bridge with people looking at the excavation area