As a growing number of museums and heritage sites reopen, we are, of course, looking forward to visiting them in person, but there is still a wealth of ways that the internet can bring archaeology from all over the world to your door. Amy Brunskill has compiled more resources to help you explore the past from the comfort of your home, as well as a list of some of the latest places that are welcoming visitors again.
The wonders of modern technology make it possible to wander around museums and sites on the other side of the world with just the click of a button. Here is a selection of some of the many famous international locations that you can visit virtually, as well as resources from places a little closer to home.
Benaki Museum, Athens
Explore the museum in downtown Athens with this interactive tour of the collection, which includes Greek art and artefacts from prehistory to the modern day.
Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde
Take a virtual trip to the Danish museum of ships, seafaring, and boatbuilding culture in prehistory and the medieval period, and see the five famous Viking ships housed there.
Browse archaeology, art, social and natural history, and world collections that tell the story of Reading, its people, and its connection to the wider world.
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Visit the second-largest art museum in the world through their virtual portal, and wander through the many galleries containing objects and artwork from all over the globe.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Walk around the impressive neo-Gothic building that houses the museum and discover its extensive collection of natural history specimens and archives.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Enjoy the museum’s collection of Classical, Islamic, and Middle Eastern archaeological structures and objects, including the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.
Wander the streets of the city and explore the Roman ruins with Google Street View, or browse photographs and paintings associated with the site.
Battle of Britain Bunker
Enjoy a 360°virtual tour of the bunker. Located 18m underground, it was home to Fighter Command (RAF Uxbridge) during the Second World War.
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta
Explore the interconnecting rock-cut chambers that make up this underground prehistoric burial site.
Take a virtual tour of the museums in the Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, the Profane Museum, and the Pio Clementino Museum.
Join London’s Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Dr Jane Sidell, on a virtual tour along London’s Roman wall, from the Southwark necropolis over to Blackfriars.
Tomb of Wahti at Saqqara, Egypt
Take in the sights of the Tomb of Wahti, belonging to a 5th Dynasty High Priest of ‘Purification’, in this short video tour led by Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Walk around the famous 15th-century Incan citadel and experience the scale of the impressive architecture, set high in the Andes mountains.
Learning in lockdown
There is no shortage of archaeology-related resources available online, whether you’re looking for an illustrated introduction to dendrochronology, a podcast discussing the challenges faced by museum curators, or a way to keep up with ongoing excavations. There’s something for everyone in this section.
EVENTS AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Learn about the history and science of tree-ring dating with this accessible, well-illustrated resource from Forestry and Land Scotland, available for free online.
Humans: Evolved and Evolving
Enjoy this broadcast from the Cosmic Shambles Network, in which Chris Stringer, Becky Wragg Sykes, and Aida Andrés discuss what we came from and how we are still evolving as a species.
This series of short animated videos by English Heritage offers an introduction to a variety of subjects, from the Industrial Revolution to prehistoric monuments.
Choose from a huge selection of educational and entertaining YouTube videos about archaeology and archaeologists from Dr Chloë Duckworth
Discover how to recreate pottery and ceramic objects from different periods using the materials, techniques, tools, and firing methods employed by the original makers.
PODCASTS AND RADIO
Join English Heritage prehistorian Susan Greaney as she explores ideas about the relationship between prehistoric people and the earth in this episode of New Generation Thinkers.
This podcast tackles a range of different subjects related to ancient history, featuring interviews with historians and archaeologists, and covering themes from Neolithic Britain to the Fall of Rome.
Hear about events in more recent history from the people who lived through them, with stories ranging from the Battle of Midway to Benidorm and the birth of package tourism.
Find out the answers to all your questions about the ways museums work, from ‘How do you clean a sculpture?’ to ‘Can you archive an orange?’.
For the love of Scotland
Enjoy this podcast from the National Trust for Scotland, which tells the stories behind some of the Trust’s most fascinating people and places.
BLOGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Pontefract Castle Dig
Keep up to date with the latest discoveries in the ongoing excavations by DigVentures at Pontefract Castle, using the timeline on their website or #PonteCastleDig on Twitter.
Explore wonderful mosaics, posted by organisations and individuals from around the world, every Monday.
Museum of London Archaeology
The MOLA Facebook page posts regular highlights from their past projects and discoveries, offering a chance to find out about tales from London’s history that you might have missed.
Enjoy photographs and updates from a variety of National Trust properties, as well as posts featuring the nature and artefacts found in them.
The Long, Forgotten History of Graffiti in England
Learn about the graffiti that can be found at almost every English Heritage site, from the scratched names of prisoners of war to traces of modern trespassers.
In this section, we’ve put together a variety of activities, ranging from online jigsaw puzzles created using objects in museum collections to instructions for an ancient Egyptian board game, as well as some TV highlights, old and new, covering a wide range of historical and archaeological topics.
CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES
Portable Antiquities Scheme
Get creative with these ideas from PAS: make your own hoard container from papier-mâché, or challenge yourself by building an artefact picture puzzle.
How to Play Senet
Learn about the ancient Egyptian board game of Senet and try your hand at playing, combining careful strategy and a bit of luck.
Leeds Museum and Galleries
Find a range of resources for children of all ages, from downloadable colouring sheets to instructions for mummification activities.
Explore a variety of art-, history-, and culture-based activities and games related to the institution’s collections and stories from American history.
Entertain the whole family with online jigsaw puzzles of pieces from the collection, downloadable versions of miniature artworks for Animal Crossing, and more.
Choose from Cardiff Museum’s wide selection of resources, from ‘History Detectives’ projects looking at themes in Cardiff’s social history to fun activity sheets featuring museum characters.
London: 2,000 Years of History
Learn about the city’s rise to power, from the ruins of Roman Londinium to the impact of the Great Fire, and all the way up to the origins of London’s suburbia.
Britain’s Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time
Follow the team excavating the 3,000-year-old village of Must Farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens, and discover more about what life was like in Bronze Age Britain.
Tony Robinson’s History of Britain
Join Tony Robinson as he explores the everyday lives of ordinary people in the Tudor, Victorian, and Georgian periods, and during the Second World War.
Hidden Wales with Will Millard
Discover Wales’ hidden history in forgotten, secret, and almost inaccessible locations, from the country’s oldest human skeleton to newly discovered Ice Age caves.
Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley
Enjoy this series in which the myths behind some of the most-important moments in British royal history are dispelled.
Treasures of the Anglo Saxons
Uncover the messages hidden in Anglo-Saxon art in this documentary looking at 600 years of artistic development up to the Norman Conquest, now available on BBC iPlayer again.
Throughout August, many museums and heritage sites began to reopen to the public, with new safety measures in place for your protection and plans to continue opening other locations in the coming months. Here are some of the places that have most recently reopened their doors.
The British Museum
The Museum is open to visitors again, with a one-way route currently running around the ground-floor galleries; further galleries will be opening later in September. Free, timed tickets must be booked in advance
National Museums Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland and several other NMS museums have reopened, with timed entry tickets and safety measures in line with Scottish government guidelines now in place.
Imperial War Museums
The IWM London, IWM North, IWM Duxford, and Churchill War Rooms are now open again. Visitor numbers are limited, so advance booking of time-slots is recommended.
The Foundling Museum
The museum has introduced a new one-way system, which begins in the temporary exhibition, Portraying Pregnancy, on the lower ground floor. Pre-booked timed tickets are required.
National Museums Liverpool
The Walker Art Gallery, World Museum, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and Museum of Liverpool are all open now, with plans to reopen other venues in the future.
The Box, Plymouth
This new museum celebrating Plymouth’s heritage will open for the first time on 29 September. It features 12 exhibitions, including Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy.
Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
The Hall, Park, and Formal Gardens are now open again, with necessary safety measures in place and some improvements made to the Natural History Museum.
Cadw have announced a phased reopening of some of their most-celebrated sites in Wales, with tickets now available to book for selected monuments at reduced prices.
The site’s museum is now open to visitors again, with access to the archaeologically significant caves also available through pre-booked private tours.
Armagh’s Navan Centre, which tells the story of Navan Fort, has reopened to visitors and offers new insights into its history thanks to recent archaeological discoveries.
Historic Environment Scotland
Twelve HES sites have already reopened to the public, including Blackness Castle, Melrose Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral, and Skara Brae, with a further ten sites due to reopen in September.