Discovering heritage sites and museums from home has become more and more important with the pandemic restricting everyone to a smaller area and closing many of our favourite sites from public visits. I know I can’t be the only person who’s missing visiting museums and heritage sites at the weekends. I always feel relaxed and happy when I’m wandering through a gallery, having a nosey at artefacts, or discovering local history. With the UK in lockdown, museums and historic sites & properties have had to shut their doors. Not one to miss a trick, many of the museums and cultural institutions have put their collections, archives and sites on show for us digitally, so you can experience the heritage for yourself at home.
Not only have I found myself re-visiting local sites, I’ve virtually travelled to sites that have been on my bucket list for years, and even added new places to my ever-growing list. I’ve boasted about it to many people, but archaeology twitter is one of my favourite places to get lost in. Many leading academics have started threads filled with resources for the young, the old and everyone in between so that even though we’ve restricted to our houses, we needn’t miss out on any history, heritage or archaeology.
I thought I’d compile some of my favourite resources here, so that you too can experience heritage at home. This post is filled with Archaeological sites across the world that you can explore from your bed, your sofa, your garden – wherever you’ve been finding peace during this crazy time. Remember to check out my Archaeology Website, specifically for kids, which has many links in the ‘resources’ tab – have a look at www.archaeologic.org!
Archaeological Sites to Virtually Visit
Lascaux is a series of caves in France (the Dordogne region), which have been intricately decorated with cave paintings. The paintings date to the Upper Palaeolithic and are believed to be the work out many generations. There are over 600 paintings, which mostly represent animals, with bulls, deer, ibex, aurochs and more. There are many interpretations of what the drawings and their location represent, some believe they represent hunting scenes / successes, myths, or ritual practices. The Lascaux caves are not open to visitors, in order to preserve the paintings, however reconstructions have been made which are open to the public for tours. At the moment, we can explore the caves through their facebook page which have 360° images of the caves.Lascaux
Find them through this link: Lascaux Facebook Page
Egyptian Heritage Sites
If you’ve always fancied visiting Egypt’s spectacular sites, then you can send your thanks to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which has released digital tours of the Tomb of Meresankh III, the Tomb of Menna, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Red Monastery and the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq. Once you’ve started your tour you can click through the tours, which show 3D images of areas of interest.
The Tomb of Meresankh III.- Meresankh III was the daughter of Hetepheres II and Prince Kawab. Her tomb , at Giza, is lavishly decorated and she is buried in a black granite sarcophagus.
The Tomb of Menna – Menna was an Egyptian official, his tomb is located in the necropolis of Sheikh And al-Qurna, Thebes. The Tomb is decorated with information about his life and roles as an official, and his transition to the afterlife.
Ben Ezra Synagogue – In the 19th Century, it was discovered that the storeroom of the Ben Ezra Synagogue contained Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic secular and sacred manuscripts. The Synagogue is believed to be located at the place where the baby Moses was found.
Red Monastery – The Red Monastery is a Coptic Orthodox monastery, and one of the three monastic communities in Senoule’s late ancient monastic federation.
The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq – this is a religious complex, built by the Sultan Barquq between 1384 and 1386. It is located in one of Cairo’s most prestigious locations – Bayn al-Qusrayn.
These five new locations add to an already incredible virtual tour of Egypt, all available on the Egypt’s Monuments websites – simply click through the archaeological sites and museums to explore more!
Pictish Settlement at Glencoe
The site of Lair, Glenshee, in the Scottish Highlands, has been excavated by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust for the past five years. The project has released a 3D reconstruction of the village at Lair, including long houses and farms. Three longhouses which were settled between the 6th- 9th century have been digitally recreated, for the the public to get a glimpse into life for a high status Pictish site.
The Site of Petra, Jordan
Petra is an incredible archaeological site in Jordan, which was the capital of the Nabataeans. The Nabataeans became very wealthy, due to trading, and invested their wealth into the city. Petra is well known for its rock cut architecture – you’ll have most likely seen photos of the Treasury (Al Khazneh) – one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. The stone which the architecture is cut from is red in colour, which has given the city the nickname of the Rose City.
Take a tour through the city with Google Maps (make sure to have your audio on!) – Petra The Rose City
Virtual Tour of Historic England’s Wreck Sites
Fancied exploring underwater archaeology, without getting wet? Historic England have created virtual Dive Trails of their wreck sites, including warships, merchant sailing ships, cargo ships and submarines. Some of the tours include archival evidence, such as geophysical surveys and photographs, as well as tours that include the whole process from discovery to post-excavation.
Find all the sites on their website – Historic England Virtual Dive Trails