A free event in Sydney Gardens, Bath, will investigate the area’s past as a burial ground, with themed activities for people of all ages.

The Deathly Secrets of Sydney Gardens is being organised by the Roman Baths and Sydney Gardens as part of the nationwide Festival of Archaeology. The event will take place on Saturday 20 July from 11am to 3pm.

During the event, the public will find out about an important Roman, whose tombstone was discovered by Georgians building the new Pleasure Gardens. Visitors will be able to have a go at stone carving with Harry Brockway, who will be replicating the letters from the tombstone, and the spot where the tombstone was found will be marked on the ground.

Discover what we know about Roman burial practices and how they differed from prehistoric and medieval beliefs, and handle objects found in Bath by archaeologists.

There will be a craft area where people can use coloured paper to make flowers, which have been associated with death and burial through the ages; a chance to have a go at being an archaeologist and seeing how many bones of the body you can identify; and a ‘Rot or Not’ activity, where people will be able to find out which objects survive after burial.

At 1.30pm there will be a talk by historian Dr Helen Frisby from the University of the West of England, who will explore English funeral customs since the medieval era and how we continue nowadays to relate to death, dying and the dead. The talk will take place in the Holburne Museum’s Clore Room – just turn up, no booking required. There will also be a chance to meet the Sydney Gardens archaeologist and find out more about the archaeology of the area.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said, “It’s great that the Roman Baths and Sydney Gardens have teamed up to reveal the forgotten history of the area, with fun and fascinating activities that people can come and enjoy for free. Both venues have recently been awarded National Lottery Heritage Fund grants, which will enable them to offer even more creative community events like this in the future.”

The nationwide Festival of Archaeology is organised by the Council for British Archaeology. For more information visit