A RENOWNED archaeologist will kick of Hyde900’s annual King Alfred Weekend.

The event will open on Friday at St Bartholomew’s Church, Hyde, with keynote speaker Professor Martin Biddle

Martin’s talk will range from Winchester to Africa, reflecting his career in archaeology and his breadth of experience. The talk will encapsulate his most memorable moments during his many years as an eminent archaeologist. Doors open at 6pm.

Discussing his lecture Martin Biddle told Caroline Scott, acting chair of Hyde900: “I’ve been very lucky in a long career to encounter several such moments. At Nonsuch in England as a schoolboy in 1955, at Winchester in the very first trench north of the cathedral in 1962, at London in 1972 sitting in the front seat on top of a London bus driving along the Strand, at Jerusalem in the 1985 faced with the challenge of trying to comprehend the archaeology of the Tomb of Christ.”

The talk will be preceded by David Spurling, organiser of the 2021 dig, describing the highs and lows of the dig, and the fascinating questions posed by the results of the archaeology discovered in the five gardens.

Following the talk there will be the official launch of Excavations at Hyde Abbey 1972-1999 edited by Patrick Ottaway and published by Hampshire Cultural Trust. The 300-page book reports on the excavations overseen by Winchester City Council’s excavation unit. It also covers in addition the Hyde900 digs of 2016-18.

Saturday’s programme starts at 10am at the Friends of Hyde Abbey Gardens and is followed at 11.30am by a film of the 2021 Community Dig and an opportunity to see some of the finds from the dig. The programme continues with tours of the abbey site and the opportunity to discuss other Hyde900 projects including the future of Hyde Gate.

The King Alfred service will take place in St Bartholomew’s Church on Sunday at 10am followed by a congregational procession to the graves of King Alfred and his family in Hyde Abbey Gardens. The weekend will finish with an opportunity for a discussion with the trustees of the garden and a guided tour of the area.

To book, go to to www.Hyde900.org