DigVentures at Leiston Abbey

Leiston Abbey is managed by Pro Corda, a registered charity and school devoted to nurturing young musical talent through ensemble and performance training. DigVentures is working in partnership with Pro Corda.

How do I get there?

Leiston Abbey is just three miles from the beautiful Suffolk coast, and only a short drive from the seaside towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold.

Address: Leiston Abbey, Theberton, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4TD

Road: from Lowestoft, A12 to Yoxford; B1122 to Leiston Abbey.From Ipswich A12 to Saxmundham; B1119 to Leiston. The abbey is 1 mile north off B1122.

Bus: Eastern Counties/Eastern national 80/1, 168-9 County Travel 80 Ipswich – Aldeburgh. Passes close to BR Saxmundham. Tel: 01473265676

Rail: Saxmundham 5 miles.

Free entry to English Heritage site, access for disabled, good parking, picnics allowed, no public toilets.


Contact Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Managing Director of DigVentures, on 07787188184.

Do I need previous fieldwork experience?

No, our staff will be on hand to teach you everything you need to know, and there will be a detailed welcome packet, as well as an on site orientation, to help get you ready for your on site experience.

How is the programme for people who have previous fieldwork experience?

The archaeology at Leiston Abbey is basically untouched, and will be challenging for diggers at all levels of experience. Our field staff and specialists are experts, and will have plenty of knowledge to share.

If I am mobility impaired, can I work on the excavation?

The short answer is: yes! There are lots of tasks in archaeology that can be done by people with all ranges of physical ability. We will discuss your interests and capabilities, and match you up with what needs doing on site. We look forward to welcoming people of all ages and abilities to Leiston Abbey.

I’m a member of an archaeological society and we would like to join you on the dig. Do you book groups?

Absolutely, and we’d love to have as many society groups along as possible to dig with us. We have to be careful about scheduling, so please give us a call to discuss booking, on +44 0333 011 3990. If you want to visit Leiston Abbey but don’t want to dig, then no booking is required – just come along! We will be doing site tours every day – check our website for details.

I’m a uni student and my field grant won’t cover the whole cost. Can I still book?

We are aware of this possibility and are doing our best to make it possible for students to join us. Please call Lisa Westcott Wilkins on +44 7787188184 to discuss anything related to student digging.

Do you accept credit cards as a method of payment?

Yes, we can accept many different methods of payment, including foreign currencies.

Will there be Internet access?

There will be internet available, though the access is patchy at times.

Are there any age limits?

You must be 17 or older to dig with us at Leiston Abbey. Children 15 – 17 are welcome if accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times, who must also be a registered participant on the dig.

Is the excavation open to non-UK residents?

Yes, of course!

Should I take out any insurance?

We will have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance, but you may want to purchase your own travel insurance. All valuables are the responsibility of the individual participants.

Is the campsite secure?

The campsite will be enclosed by fencing and is within sight of the Abbey and Pro Corda buildings, however we have arranged for secure storage for valuables, as needed.

What will I need money for?

You will need money for laundry, activities, and the odd whip-round for extra cookies and cakes! Our on-site pop up pub, the Wattle & Daub, will also be open for business inside the 14th century thatched barn. Prices are quite reasonable and cards may also be accepted – we’re looking into it. Please be prepared with cash, just in case.

Do I need to be fit?

You will need to be reasonably fit, able to move around, kneel for periods of time, work with your hands, and potentially carry small items. There are activities for people with impaired movement, and this can be arranged on a case-by-case basis – just get in touch and talk to us about it.

How is the working week constructed?

We dig from Tuesday morning to Sunday evening. Orientations take place every morning at 8:30am. A typical day is 9:00am-5:30pm, with two tea breaks and lunch. Evening lectures or activities begin at 6:30pm, and dinner is at 8:00pm.

Do you work at weekends?

Yes, because Leiston Abbey is open to the public, and we want as many people as possible to be able to visit us while we’re working. We take Mondays off.

What happens if it rains?

We still work, providing we can actually see anything!

What do we do on the day off?

It’s up to you – we will arrange some group activities, but you are welcome to make your own plans. Leiston is just 3 miles from the gorgeous Suffolk coast – beach time is definitely in the plan.

What do we do in the evenings?

There will be DVIP lectures, musical performances from Pro Corda staff and students, games, storytelling in the barn, and Q&A sessions on finds, features and other archaeological things. And of course – the Wattle & Daub!

Does everyone camp on site? Is there an alternative?

Given the location, we are hoping most people will camp. There are holiday camps, hotels and B&Bs nearby but you will be responsible for those arrangements, as well as travel to and from site.

Do you cater for vegetarians and people with specific dietary requirements?

We will do our best, however facilities are basic. If you have severe allergies or other dietary issues, please plan to bring supplies, and do let us know ahead of time if there’s anything we can do to help.

What are the washing facilities like on site?

There are showers, loos and laundry facilities on site.