‘Oh by the way…have you heard that story about that mummy?’
The DigVentures story began in 2011 with three archaeologists who were inspired to do things differently. The recession was biting, and the three pillars of UK archaeology – commercial units, university research, and local authorities – were in a downward spiral. Nobody was having any fun! Worst of all, these conditions meant that opportunities to share what we do with the public had dried to a trickle. Frustrated, we decided to make a change.
We Felt The Love
Everywhere we went people shared stories with us about how much they were fascinated by archaeology, how they had always wanted to try it, and ‘Oh by the way…have you heard that story about that mummy?’ Public appetite for archaeology was booming. Could we somehow help? Was there a way to really involve people in what we do? Over a few pints of ale one night, the DigVentures social enterprise and the tagline that underpins all of our work was born: archaeology in your hands.
Putting this ethos to the test, in July 2012 we launched the world’s first-ever crowdfunded and crowdsourced archaeological excavation at Flag Fen, a Bronze Age wetlands site and Scheduled Ancient Monument near Peterborough. It was a huge success, raising a worldwide community of over 250 funders and £27,000 to run a public research archaeology project. Since then, we’ve repeated this success at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk, opened an archaeology and heritage crowdfunding platform to help other projects, and grown our archaeology community year upon year proving time and again that YOU – the crowd – are at the heart of what we do.
In 2014, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, we changed the way that archaeology is done forever.
Digital Dig Team, the world’s first mobile digital archaeological recording system for archaeology and heritage, enables us to enter archaeological data straight from the trenches on iPads, tablets and smartphones, making it instantly accessible (from anywhere in the world!) project websites. We’ve harnessed the power and reach of digital technology for the scientific process of doing archaeology as well as involving an unlimited audience, making it possible for the public to participate in archaeological excavation alongside DV’s expert archaeologists in the trenches, or as one of our armchair archaeology army.
The wild ride we started in 2011 is picking up pace, as our new way of working with the public becomes more and more popular within archaeology and beyond. We’ve got new projects and strategic partnerships developing in the UK, Europe, and the United States, and plenty more tricks up our sleeve to keep surprising, exciting – and most of all, INVOLVING – our community in what we do. Hope to see you on site soon!
We Also Work With…
Organisations and projects looking to explore digital engagement, raise funds, increase visitor footfall, and build profile. We offer complete project design and delivery services for archaeology, crowdfunding and educational programmes in schools and museums. Get in touch!
DigVentures is a Chartered Institute for Archaeologists Registered Organisation