Archaeology isn’t just for grown-ups! This one-day DigCamp at RSPB Minsmere gives parents and children a very special opportunity to dig with archaeologists and find out if there were Medieval ‘pirate priests’ in Suffolk.

What’s special about a day digging at RSPB Minsmere?

Priests were often raided by pirates, by we’ve found a historical document that accuses some of Suffolk’s Medieval priests of behaving like pirates 700 years ago!

The document records a case of them stealing ships and beating people up, but we still don’t know for sure whether it’s true. Only archaeology can provide the answer!

RSPB Minsmere is now a world-famous bird sanctuary, but 700 years ago it was home to some medieval priests who may or may not have been up to no good!

We know these priests had a chapel in the middle of RSPB Minsmere, and it’s ruins still stand today. We want to know whether they had a docking facility (a place where they could bring ships) nearby. We also want to know more about how they lived, and what else they left behind.

So, were they priests who had been falsely accused? Or Can you pick up a trowel and help us find the evidence? This is your chance to be part of the excavation team that maybe, just maybe, finally helps to prove this history cold-case!

What will we be doing?

You really do get to be an archaeologist for the day! We’ll start by exploring the site, looking for clues about why the priests might have chosen to live here. Was it because it was isolated and close to the sea? Or was there something else? Then, we’ll show you how to identify different artefacts, and finally… we’ll show you how to dig!

Once you’re all trained up, you’ll get to jump into the trenches alongside our professional archaeologists and help them excavate Minsmere’s amazing secrets.

You’ll also get to record anything you find on CyberDig – our whizzy new digital archaeology app built just for kids – so that everyone else can see what you’ve found too. In one single day, you’ll get to help us find out whether Suffolk’s medieval priests were actually pirates… and have a bucket-load of fun!

Who will we be digging with?

DigCampers will be working alongside our professional archaeologists (some of whom you may have seen on Time Team or presenting the BBC’s Ancient Voices), and Fergus – the world’s best archaeological dog!

What if it rains?

We understand that the British weather doesn’t always come up trumps, so if the heavens open we’ll get out of the muddy field and into the warm indoor archaeology laboratory to examine, question and record real archaeological objects.

The Details

Cost: £85 per parent-child team (ages 6-11), which includes tuition, coffee/tea, and all sessions. You can bring additional family members for an extra £10 each. If it’s a birthday present, drop us an email on and we’ll send you a gift certificate once we’ve processed your booking.

Meeting Point: RSPB Minsmere. We’ll send along further details about finding us once you book.

Lunch: Please come prepared with your own packed lunch. You won’t be able to get off the island during the day.

Snacks: We will have regular tea and comfort breaks, and there will be fruit and biscuits for everyone. But if you want something else to snack on, please bring it with you.

The Schedule – Saturday 17th September

10:00        Arrival, Health and Safety talk, Risk Assessment
10:30        Site tour
11:00        Finds
12:00        Lunch (please bring a packed lunch)
13:00        Digging begins
15:00        Tea break
16:00        End of day!

Travel & Accommodation

Please note, accommodation is not included with DigCamp. Accommodation on the island is very limited, so get in early if that’s where you prefer to stay. Otherwise, we will be sending out details about camping on the mainland to all participants closer to the time.

What else should I bring?

As well as a packed lunch, you will need to bring weather-appropriate clothing. Yes, it will be the middle of summer, but you should remember to bring waterproofs and a a change of clothes just in case. We recommend:

Book now

Any questions? Send us an email on or call 0333 011 3990