Royal award for Dorset’s Ancient Technology Centre “hidden gem”

A “HIDDEN gem” in Dorset got royal approval after winning an award from Princess Anne.

The Ancient Technology Centre, at Cranborne, won a Princess Royal Training Award at a glittering ceremony at St James Palace, in London, on November 23.

Part of the role of volunteers at the site is to learn new skills and to pass on their learning to new volunteers, ensuring the site is sustainable – training recognised with the award.

The Ancient Technology Centre is nestled in the heart of Cranborne Chase and is home to several historic recreated buildings from the Stone Age through to the Anglo Saxons, used primarily to teach school children about history.

The Princess Royal presented the award at St James Palace in London

The Princess Royal presented the award at St James Palace in London

The site is owned by Dorset Council but is supported by a team of volunteers who give their time to build and maintain the structures so children and the wider public can learn about pre-history and the dark ages.

Colin Alborough, vice chair of the Ancient Technology Centre Volunteers Association, said: “We had an amazing day out. Princess Anne was clearly very impressed with our small team of volunteers as the skills of our volunteers was even mentioned in HRH opening speech.

“We are the smallest group of people ever to receive such a prestigious award, which is based on outcomes.”

Andrew Stevens, senior tutor at the centre, added: “We are so proud of their achievement. Our staff work closely with the volunteers to transfer the skills of our archaeologists to the volunteers who then upskill their volunteer colleagues.

“Our volunteers join an alumni of 53 organisations for the 2023 awards and this incredible achievement has made us all very proud.”

The award will be on display for visitors to see during one of the three open weekends held by the centre, to enable the public to visit the site and experience ancient crafts first hand.

More information, and open weekend dates can be found at

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