DigVentures Heads To East Yorkshire To Investigate Roman And Iron Age Remains

Archaeology team set to investigate nationally-important site in east Yorkshire

A team of archaeologists from DigVentures and the Portable Antiquities Scheme will start work at Elmswell Farms, near Driffield, this August to investigate nationally significant archaeological features including a Roman settlement and a deserted medieval village (DMV), thought to have once been part of the modern village of Little Driffield.

A chance discovery by metal detectorists has unearthed a hoard of Roman coins, as well as striking artefacts from across the site’s diverse but little-understood history. Similar sites nearby such as Wharram Percy and Wetwang Slack have garnered international attention, however no coordinated investigation has ever been undertaken at Elmswell Farm despite an equally high potential. The project has now secured a grant of £53,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will investigate several areas across the farm, and follows on from a dig last year during which the team discovered evidence of a lost Medieval village. A programme of free public events will be offered, including temporary exhibitions, workshops, master classes, school visits and training events, based at a pop-up Archaeology HQ in Elmswell Farms’ purpose-built education space. An archaeological excavation will be held from 14th – 26th August 2018, with opportunities for the public to visit as well as jump into the trenches alongside the DigVentures professional archaeological team.

According to DigVentures Projects Director Brendon Wilkins: ‘In terms of potential, Elmswell Farm is one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the north of England, but surprisingly one of the least understood. This is a very rare opportunity to work with local people as well as an international community of interest to discover more about this very special place.’

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We are delighted to support communities who are passionate about their local heritage and the Excavating Elmswell project will help uncover the stories held beneath our feet. Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to help people to learn new skills from professional archaeologists and get their hands dirty.”

DigVentures is now inviting anyone interested in discovering the past, and working with the team at Elmswell Farm, to crowdfund the project on their website, www.digventures.com. In return for backing the project, supporters can become part of the team in the trenches or on-site lab, or participate from the comfort of home through DV’s innovative online app, Digital Dig Team, which provides up-to-the-minute news and data from the trenches. DigVentures’ field school program is accredited by the UK’s Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), and since 2012, DV has trained people from all over the world in archaeological field skills and techniques.

The dig is scheduled from the 14th – 26th August 2018. No previous experience is necessary. Bookings are now open on the project website at digventures.com/projects/Elmswell. For additional information about the project, booking school groups or other questions, please email hello@digventures.com.


Notes to editors

Download full size images here

Available for comment are

  • Brendon Wilkins, archaeologist, Projects Director and co-founder DigVentures

About DigVentures

DigVentures is a social business that designs and delivers collaborative archaeology projects and experiences in the UK and beyond, using crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and digital technology to increase opportunities for the public to participate in archaeological research.

Participants can support excavations by pledging money in return for a variety of benefits, from joining the team in the field, to masterclasses on identifying artefacts or documenting a dig. Venturers and supporters from around the world can follow the digs live online through DV’s bespoke Digital Dig Team app. Every object and discovery is logged live from the trenches via iPads, tablets and smartphones, making it instantly accessible from anywhere in the world.

DigVentures is a Chartered Institute for Archaeologists Registered Organisation.

Advisory Board

  • Carole Souter CBE, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Sir Tony Robinson, actor and amateur archaeologist
  • David Gilbert, board president, Chair of Creative United and Writer’s Centre of Norwich, and former Managing Director of Currys Group and Waterstones
  • Simon Collister, Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London
  • Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland
  • Tim Schadla-Hall, Reader in Public Archaeology at University College London, Institute of Archaeology
  • Sarah Stannage, Policy and Culture Sector lead for the Understanding Everyday Participation (UEP)

Other upcoming excavations http://digventures.com/projects/

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

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DigVentures crowdfunds archaeological projects that everyone can be part of, in the UK and overseas. With help from people all over the world, we investigate the past and publish our discoveries online for free. Become a DigVentures Subscriber and be part of great archaeology - all year round!


Written by DigVentures

Fascinated by archaeology? DigVentures runs excavations that anyone can be part of. From Roman ruins and medieval castles, to Bronze Age monuments and industrial heritage, you can choose to dig alongside our team, help out in the Finds Room, take an online course, or become a Subscriber for even more ways to enjoy archaeology with our team.

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