Calling All Budding Archaeologists: Help Us Uncover the Past

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An exciting new cross community project to uncover the past will take place near Down Cathedral from 28 July to 25 August. The excavation project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The excavation, coordinated by Down County Museum, will aim to build on 1997 findings of a Time Team dig in the ‘tennis court’ field, north-west of Down Cathedral. During that dig, the Time Team located part of a possible kitchen building, associated with the 12th century Benedictine Abbey.

As the Time Team only had three days to investigate Cathedral Hill, this new community excavation will widen the area of investigation, opening up two trenches, and allow fresh environmental evidence to be gathered from pits that were identified 21 years ago.

Discover History

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “I am very pleased that PEACE IV funding has been secured to allow this important excavation to take place. St Patrick and his legacy is part of our shared history and it is only right that this programme is being carried out as a cross community project.”

“I am looking forward to following the progress of the dig over the summer and meeting those who are taking part, as well as seeing their discoveries.”

“This is such an important period in our history, and it is exciting that local people will be able to contribute to developing our knowledge.”

The excavation will be conducted by professional archaeologists from the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork and the Centre for Community Archaeology at Queen’s University, Belfast, but they need your help. The team is looking to recruit a team of volunteers to help them from across the community.

Young Archaeologists

It will be possible for ‘young archaeologists’ between the ages of 8 and 16 to take part in the dig during morning sessions, and for adults to take part in afternoon sessions, between Tuesday and Saturday, as long as they can volunteer for at least 26 hours each.

The excavation team is planning to conduct tours of the dig and update visitors about their findings each Sunday afternoon during the excavation. The team will also deliver a public lecture at Down County Museum in the autumn where they will summarise their discoveries.

Get Digging

Anyone wishing to take part in this exciting project can contact the team at snbe@qub.ac.uk
You never know what you might discover.

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