10+ Reasons Why I’m Supporting DigNation

DigNation is oh-so-nearly funded and people from all over the world have been emailing us to say why they’re supporting it. Some of the reasons are so moving, we just HAD to share.

Last year, Tony Robinson got in touch to ask us if we could help him launch a festival celebrating the legacy of Time Team’s most beloved archaeologist Mick Aston. His brilliant ambition of making archaeology accessible to all is one we aspire to, so of course we immediately said yes! Now we absolutely CANNOT WAIT to get this party started and together we’ve planned an incredible archaeology-based weekend jam-packed with fascinating talks, fun events, a live dig, a bar and a band, as well as Virtual Tickets so that people who can’t make it in person can watch the whole thing online…

The support we’ve received from the archaeology-loving community so far is absolutely amazing, and some of the messages we’ve received about the festival are so heartfelt it has moved us close to tears – thank you!

We’re now so close to reaching the crowdfunding target that all we need are a few more folk to join in. Yippee! You can still get tickets to join DigNation online, or in person. If you need any more convincing about why you might want to join in, read on… Let’s make it happen!

Inga, Student

As a teenager I loved watching Time Team with my parents – it’s one of the reasons I ended up studying archaeology. It’s so nice to be able to pay homage to Mick Aston this way… To remember him for his passion, knowledge and advocacy for public engagement in archaeology – all things that we need much more of in life. I’m very grateful to Mick Aston and the rest of Time Team. Also, I love a good party!

Sue, Financial Product Manager

I’ve always wanted to ‘have a go’ at archaeology, inspired (like so many others) by Time Team. Having a festival in honour of Mick is such a great idea, and crowdfunding it means that so many people can sign their names up to that memory. That plus the fact that we’ve been meaning to visit Lindisfarne for years, and the conference topics and speakers, and a live band, meant that I just jumped in as soon as I saw it!

Laurence, Security Officer

I’ve spent so many happy hours glued to the telly watching Time Team. This festival is a fantastic way to pay our respects to a great archaeologist. It’s also an opportunity for me to visit Lindisfarne and join a dig… my trowel has been collecting dust for far too long!

Sebastiaan, Software Engineer

I love history and archeology – they give you an overview of what humans are, how we have become what we are now and what may come in the future. I respect Mick and Time Team for doing a damn good job of educating and entertaining people throughout the whole of society and showing us how what we have is the work of thousands of years of human thinking.

Cherie, Interior Designer

I’ve realised that I am a direct product of Mick’s legacy, and his ambition to bring archaeology into the family home. It was his drive to make archaeological study ‘accessible to all’ that ignited a spark in me. That spark eventually developed into actually digging, firstly at Star Carr, then with DigVentures at Lindisfarne and Elmswell. Now, I’m researching, recording and doing my own free thinking. For me, watching Mick Aston was like having an approachable Grandad-like figure who told you stories you wanted to hear. He was nothing less than a colourful, eccentric, loveable teaching-wizard of a man. Each Time Team episode was like a chapter from a long history book that helped me fill in the blank jigsaw pieces of the past. For my part in his tribute I want to celebrate his achievements, meet up with like-minded enthusiasts and help others by sharing the story of my journey into archaeology, so that his lifetime’s work lives on.

Holly, Physical Therapist

We supported DigNation for so many reasons: because we loved Mick Aston, how he changed people’s view of archaeology and history, and brought together a television show like none before, or since; because Lindisfarne itself; because Cuthbert and Bede and Eadfrith and Eadbert and all the gang; because we would just about bury ourselves if we thought the Time Team gang would get together to dig us up!

Tracey, Council Benefits Officer

I’m a life long Time Team fan and it feels GREAT to be doing something in Mick’s memory!

Christy, Project Manager

I’ve learned so much from Mick via Time Team and his books; he started me on such a wonderful journey through landscape archaeology, geophysics, and archaeology in general, that I just feel like I have to find a way to say “thanks”.  Since he’s gone, this is the closest I can get, and I’m delighted to be able to assist in this small way.  I really believe in what you are all doing, and want to contribute to furthering archaeology this way. I’m very happy to be a part of the Virtual Festival even though I can’t be on site!

Nigel, Gardener

I’ve been a fan of Time Team for years, it got me interested in archaeology so I’m very pleased I can do a little bit to help fund this festival as a little thank you to Mick and the others for starting a life long passion.

Christina, Sales Assistant

Time Team was the reason why I decided to take a break from retail and study archaeology. Mick Aston was the greatest inspiration. He had a unique ability to bring archaeology to life and to convey his excitement for the past to the general public. I loved reading ‘Micks Travels’ in the Current Archaeology magazine and seeing him stand up to Tony Robinson’s barrage of questions in a calm, grandfatherly way and explain the ins-and-outs of an excavation in a way even Tony could understand! I still remember exactly what I was doing when I read the news about Micks death. I was sitting at my desk in the morning of the 24 June 2013, about to go off to the uni’s dig. I thought it was devastating and felt the need to make an entry about it in my excavation diary. I cried while making the note. Now living in Sweden, I often tune in to Time Team on YouTube. I will never tire of watching them all hypothesising about the finds and arguing about what it might mean. Mick Aston paved the way for public archaeology and left a great legacy. Long live his memory!

David, Consultant Anaesthetist

We wanted to support this festival so we could be involved in this celebration of Mick – he and Time Team made a massive contribution to our love of archaeology… The mix of serious science delivered in an informative, informal and engaging style with respect being shown both to the experts and especially to the viewers. It was so refreshing to have a TV show aimed much higher than the lowest common denominator. The festival speaker list is like a Time Team reunion with plenty of added extras!

Helen, Wayne & Abigail

We would love to get involved and ‘hands on’ in archaeology one day when Abigail’s doctors gives her the all clear for her recovery. She loves watching Time Team and Horrible Histories. For now, we have to be careful where we go and what we do, so we’ll be watching the festival online. Mick always managed to transmit his enthusiasm for his subject even through the TV screen, which as a rare skill. He could connect with people and motivate them and he has certainly motivated us.

Amber, Student

Time Team really inspired me to think about archaeology as a lifetime love, and DigVentures has enabled me to turn that love into a reality! John Gater was the one who gave me the final push on Facebook to step up from watching online, to coming to the festival in person! Between Mick Aston’s  legacy, the speakers, the dig and the location, I can’t wait to be there smiling and cheers’ing with you all!

Bill, Egg Deliverer

An archaeology festival is a novel idea! Mick Aston is definitely someone worth remembering. The whole event sounds interesting and what’s more… FUN.


I still cant quite believe that I am signed up to join you on Lindisfarne for this amazing event… Someone pinch me… Wow!! It is only because of your unique celebration and tribute to Mick, that I am even able to contemplate attending, and I say bring it on!! As it will indeed be an incredible personal achievement, and an opportunity that for me, just can’t be missed. Thank you so much for organising this incredible event… a very fitting tribute to Mick Aston. See you there!

Kathryn, Archaeology Student

I decided to support the festival due to a long held love for all things Time Team… The passing of Professor Aston affected so many people, and his passion for educating others about our past was infectious. That passion played a massive part in my decision to become an Archaeologist and this festival is the perfect memorial to him. I would have deeply regretted not being a part of it… Roll on September 2018!

Mandy, Homemaker

I’m a devoted fan of Tony, Mick and all the other members of the team. My disabilities make it very difficult to go to many events including actual digs and mean my finances are limited, but I could afford to support you on this occasion so jumped at the chance! Being able to get involved online is a fantastic opportunity that I am enormously grateful for.

Nigel, Parks Officer & Alison, Trainer in Social Care

We are both enthusiastic, but very amateur foragers into the past – I’m a metal detectorist, and Alison prefers prehistory, rocks and fossils. Time Team, Tony and Mick inspired us, taught us and made what was otherwise boring parental hobbies interesting and cool to our children. As grandparents, we now hope to share their passion with the next generation… we can’t imagine a more fitting site for the inaugural festival!

Gloria, Librarian

I have watched Time Team since the beginning and am still watching the repeats. I cannot get to Lindisfarne but I can get to a computer to watch the Virtual Festival online. Thank you!

Bryony, Archaeology Student

I grew up watching Time Team every Sunday like clockwork, and spent most of my childhood dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. A YouTube video of Mick talking to a university professor about becoming an archaeologist was the final push I needed, at the right point in my life, to apply to study. I have Mick to thank for the fact that I’m now neck deep in prehistory and archaeology methods and practice.

Richard, Teacher

I think it’s fitting the archaeology community do something to celebrate & commemorate Mick – the fact this is crowdfunded rather than by a large corporation or TV company is good, likewise making it virtual as well makes it more accessible. And finally… someone said there might be stripey t-shirts!

Kendra, Teacher

This festival is my idea of heaven! I’m a long-standing DigVentures fan, Lindisfarne fanatic, Time Team enthusiast, and absolutely cannot get enough of Janina Ramirez, Dan Snow et al. Can’t wait!

Elric (again!)

I recently joined the DigVentures mailing list with the specific aim of getting my hands dirty on an excavation. That desire was a direct result of Time Team, as I suspect it has for many thousands of other people. When I learnt of Mick Aston’s passing, it was such a genuinely sad moment, owing to his huge presence in my life albeit via the telly. I wanted to be a part of this amazing tribute as soon as I saw the email. As I mention, attending DigNation presents major personal challenges for me (overcoming some health issues), but I could not think of a better, more inspiring challenge than this marvelously fitting tribute to Mick.

Eden, Writer

A site like this, people like this, an event like this? How could we NOT want to support it? We’re huge Time Team fans and enjoyed digging with DigVentures last summer so much that my son has been “doing archaeology” in our yard ever since – complete with finds trays, charts of his finds and where he found them on the grid!

Doreen, Retired Teacher

I watched Time Team from the beginning  – and still watch the repeats! Finding the right way to remember him and what he achieved in promoting an interest in our past is important. He always seemed so approachable and wore his erudition lightly. I think this festival is going to be a great way to do so.

Dawn, Veterinary Anaesthetist

I used to love watching Time Team – it’s what inspired me to volunteer with community archaeology groups. The chance to support this super tribute to Mick Aston and get down and dirty in the trench ticks all my boxes…  I can’t wait!

Gordon, Sales Director

I’m a big fan of Mick Aston, plus I wanted to visit Lindisfarne for a long time… plus it just sounds like a great archaeology-based weekend!

Siobhan, Archives Collection Manager

I used to love watching Time Team, it made archaeology so accessible. I was inspired by it, and it lead me to sign up for the MA in Landscape Archaeology at Bristol. I didn’t end up working in archaeology, but I still read Current Archaeology and British Archaeology journals and have local digs that I want to pursue when I get a bit more time. I was sorry to hear about Mick’s passing and wanted to get involved and support this event.

DigNation is taking place 22nd-23rd September 2018 on Holy Island, Lindisfarne. You can get tickets to join the festival online, or in person, here.

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Written by Maiya Pina-Dacier

Head of Community at DigVentures, Maiya digs with a trowel in one hand, and a Twitter feed in the other. She reports on all our discoveries live from the trenches, and keeps our Site Hut full of the latest archaeology news. Got a story? Just drop her a line...

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