TV star Hugh Dennis officially opens new archaeology gallery at Maidstone Museum

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is delighted to announce that comedian, actor and presenter Hugh Dennis has officially opened the new archaeology gallery ‘Lives In Our Landscape’ at the Maidstone Museum which opens for visitors on Wednesday 5 June.

Hugh hosts The Great British Dig on More 4 and has developed a strong interest in archaeology and heritage issues after filming three series and investigating nearly thirty sites. The pilot episode excavated a Roman site in Lower Fant, Maidstone in 2019. The show involves residents exploring the archaeology beneath their back gardens, often uncovering a previously forgotten past.


Hugh said “I’d heard about the progress of the new Lives in our Landscape gallery for some time, through friends at the Kent Archaeological Society. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to officially open the gallery!


“Maidstone Museum have really achieved something quite outstanding with this immersive and exciting gallery. I would encourage everyone to come and see it and experience the changing landscapes of Kent for themselves.”


The exciting new family-friendly Lives In Our Landscape gallery tells the story of how people have lived in the area over a vast span of time. Objects dating back more than 600,000 years will be on show, from the earliest type of humans hunting animals with stone tools in a forested landscape, up to the medieval period, when Maidstone became a bustling market town.

Maidstone Museum Manager, Natalie Moor said: “The gallery will transport people through time and allow them to imagine how a person lived thousands of years ago. The skeleton and film of the Eastry woman, buried nearly 1,500 years ago is a great example of this. They tell her story and give clues about her life through scientific analysis of her teeth and bones.”

“Another great example is the recreation of what a man from the 15th century could have looked like after a skull from Trottiscliffe has been scanned and investigated. Visitors to the new gallery will be able to look into the face of someone who lived around 600 years ago. Maidstone Museum is free to visit and we look forward to welcoming you to see all the wonderful artefacts which tell us so much about our past.”  

Visitors will be able to use an interactive touchscreen map to explore what has been unearthed in the borough of Maidstone and take part in hands-on activities, handling objects and trying on costumes and interacting digitally and physically with the collections.


MBC owns and runs the Maidstone Museums which also includes the Carriage Museum. Sources of funding for the new gallery include £100,000 from the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust, matched by £100,000 raised by Maidstone Museums’ Foundation (MMF), which includes donations from the Gallagher Group and Family, The Cobtree Charity Trust and a former Mayor of Maidstone, Dan Daley, together with £389,000 from the Council. It is also supported by the Council for British Archaeology South East who have provided a grant for replica objects for the gallery.

The Kent Archaeological Society (KAS) has also donated £50,000 and the museum team have worked in partnership with them to select objects. 

For more information on all of the events at Maidstone Museum visit: