Try your hand at archaeology by joining dig

Thursday 16th June 2022 1:00 pm

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A team of archaeologists is returning to the Isle of Man this month, offering opportunities for locals to volunteer and have a go at digging.

The team of 21 includes students from both the universities of Leicester and Newcastle, and they haven’t been able to come to the island to excavate since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The excavation is part of an ongoing project, launched in 2016, to investigate the island’s prehistoric burial mounds, and is in collaboration with Manx National Heritage who, alongside the universities, have helped to fund the dig.

The Steam Packet is also supporting the visit by assisting with travel costs.

The digging will begin from Saturday, June 18, and continue until Friday, July 15, and the field is set to be just outside of Kirk Michael.

The Isle of Man is home to more than 160 round mounds but very few have been dug using techniques that have left a detailed and reliable record.

Round mounds are ancient burial places dating back to the early Bronze Age, and it is believed that some of the material found on island could date back to earlier than 1000BC.

The project is investigating what these sites and their associated burials and artefacts can tell us about life on the Isle of Man during these periods, as well as the interaction with other communities across Britain, Ireland and potentially beyond.

The project is being led by professor Chris Fowler from Newcastle University, as well as Manx woman Dr Rachel Crellin, an associate professor of archeology at the University of Leicester.

Dr Crellin said: ‘This will be our fourth year excavating the burial mound and we couldn’t be happier to get back to digging.

‘Many of the students digging with us have had their chances for fieldwork disrupted by the pandemic so it is wonderful to be able to offer them the chance to get back in the field and to visit the beautiful Isle of Man.’

‘In previous seasons we have uncovered a wide variety of Bronze Age burial in the mound, including the one associated with the stunning jet necklace in 2019 and we can’t wait to see what else we discover.

‘On behalf of the team I’d like to thank the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its generous support in assisting with our travel costs. It makes a huge difference to the overall cost of the project and we are very grateful to them. We are also very grateful for our continuing collaboration with Manx National Heritage and the funding that they have provided for the dig.’

Dr Crellin encourages locals to get involved with the volunteering opportunities across the four week period.

‘Whether you’d like to take part for a day or the whole dig, you will be made very welcome,’ added Dr Crellin.

There is full training provided to those interested in helping out, allowing the public to have a go at archeology and discover part of the prehistoric past of the island.

If interested, people can sign up by sending an email to Dr Rachel Crellin at [email protected]

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