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FAQs

Everything you need to know about joining this year’s dig. Please read it carefully!

Meeting time & place

Please remember: LINDISFARNE IS A TIDAL ISLAND AND YOU CAN ONLY CROSS THE CAUSEWAY AT LOW TIDE, WHICH CHANGES DAILY. If you're coming from the mainland, the first thing you need to do is check the start, finish and safe crossing times below, to make sure you can get on and off the island in time for the dig.

📍 Meeting point

Our daily meeting point:

Holy Island Village Hall – Crossman Hall
Crossgate Lane
Holy Island
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Northumberland
TD15 2ST

There is parking at the main island car park, and the hall is just a short walk away from there.

🌊 Safe crossing times

The main excavation runs from Tues 07 – Sun 26 September 2021 (excluding Mondays)

Please remember that Lindisfarne is a tidal island, and that you can only cross the causeway to get on and off the island at certain times of day.

Where crossing times don’t allow for our usual 09:00-17:00, we have allowed 20 minutes from the earliest safe crossing time until the start of the day. This should be enough to cross safely, park and find your way to our meeting point, but if it takes you a bit longer, don’t worry – take your time and don’t attempt to cross the causeway any earlier than is safe to do so – the most important thing is to make sure you cross safely!

Your first day on site is the most important, as you’ll need to complete the archaeological briefing before we can get you digging or handling artefacts. Make sure you plan your journey to get to our meeting point (Crossman Hall) in plenty of time.

We’ve included the relevant safe crossings below for getting to the dig on time, but you should also check Northumberland County Council’s website for the full tide timetable.

 

⏰ Start Times for the Dig Team and Finds Team

⏰ Start Times for DigCamp (ages 6-12)

DigCamp – Saturday 11 September 2021*

Start 13:00 / Finish 16:00 (Safe crossing from 10:15 until 16:20)

DigCamp – Sunday 12 September 2021

Start 13:00 / Finish 16:00 (Safe crossing from 10:40 until 17:15)

DigCamp – Saturday 18 September 2021 (morning session)*

Start 09:00 / Finish 12:00 (Safe crossing from 04:10 until 11:55, and again from 17:15 until 00:05)

DigCamp – Saturday 18 September  2021 (afternoon session)

Start 13:00 / Finish 16:00 (Safe crossing from 04:10 until 11:55, and again from 17:15 until 00:05)

*If you need to leave early to catch the tide, we recommend leaving us at least 20 minutes before safe crossing ends to ensure you have plenty of time. However if you wish to stay for the full session, there is plenty more to see and do on Holy Island – enough to keep you occupied until the causeway opens again.

SCHEDULE

Please note that activities may change depending on what is happening on site each day, but the schedule below provides an example of what you can expect on the day:

Time | Activity

09:00 Welcome and Orientation
09:15 Finds and Artefacts
09:45 Digging begins
10:45 Break
11:00 Digging resumes!
12:00 End of session

⏰ Start Times for DigClub (ages 12-16)

DigClub – Sunday 12 September 2021

Start 11:00 / Finish 16:30 (Safe crossings from 10:40 until 17:15)

SCHEDULE

Please note that activities may change depending on what is happening on site each day, but the schedule below provides an example of what you can expect on the day:

Time | Activity
11:00 Welcome & Orientation
11:15 Finds and Artefacts
11:45 Digging begins
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Digging resumes!
16:00 End of day

☎️ Contact

If you need to get in touch with us, please feel free to do so.

You can phone us:
Before the dig: 0333 011 3990
During the dig: 07498 939 246  (e.g., if you’re late, stuck, or lost)

You can email us:
hello@digventures.com

You can also find us on social media:
We’re @thedigventurers on Twitter!

07498 939 246

Remember, if you are running late, please DO NOT try to cross the causeway if it is during the unsafe tide times, even if it looks like the tide is still low and it’s safe to cross. The causeway is about a mile long and things can change very quickly. The Coastguard gets called out to stranded vehicles multiple times a year, and attempting to cross the causeway at unsafe times is a serious risk to life.

🚗 Traffic and delays

We have been informed that traffic onto the island is much busier than usual, and that there are queues of up to 40 minutes to cross the causeway – especially around the opening of safe crossing times.

We therefore recommend that you arrive at the causeway as early as you can, so that you can be at the front of the queue for when it opens, and arrive in time for the morning briefing so that you can get started on time.

However, if you do still end up getting stuck in the queue, don’t panic! Just send us a message on 07498 939 246 to let us know you’re running late.

'Safe Dig' policies

By choosing to us on site, you are agreeing to abide by our Safe Dig policies. Please check the full details on our Safe Dig page.

Main messages

  • adults and children in Years 7 and above will need to take a lateral flow test before arriving on site, and only come to site if your result is negative. You’ll also need to bring evidence of your negative result (read more on our Safe Dig page)
  • adults and children in Years 7 and above will need to bring a facemask and gloves, and be prepared to wear them if asked
  • you will also need to bring the other essential and recommended items on our ‘what to bring list’ (read more on our Safe Dig page)
  • we will maintain social distancing wherever possible
  • we will provide your with a pre-sanitised personal ‘Dig Kit’ or ‘Finds Kit’ for your individual use
  • we have updated our booking and cancellation policies to protect you if the dig is postoned or you can no longer attend (read more on our Safe Dig page)

By choosing to join us on site, you are agreeing to abide by our Safe Dig policies. Please check the full details on our Safe Dig page now so that you’ve got plenty of time to order any extra items you need to bring.

🚨 Check the full details on our ‘Safe Dig’ page now 🚨

Other information

🚗 Parking

There is parking at the main island car park, and the Crossman Hall is just a short walk away from there.

Please try to use the main island car park if possible – it’s only a short walk, and parking in the village can be very busy, and it’s good to try and leave the few available spaces free for residents and those who need it.

🏝 Safe crossings

You can check the safe crossing times on Northumberland County Council’s website.

Click here for the official tide timetable.

🛒 Local ammenities

Holy Island is a very small, but it does have several cafes, gift shops and pubs. There are no grocery shops on the island, but you can get deliveries from online supermarkets.

There is also a post office where you can take out small amounts of cash (this service may not be available to those without a UK bank account).

There are also limited transport links from Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

There are public toilets on the island.

🚙 Ride sharing and bicycles

If you’re staying on the mainland and don’t have a car, you can easily cycle across the causeway.

Alternatively, you can book a taxi or get in touch with your fellow Venturers by joining the DigVentures Facebook Group Chat group.

It’s a good place to say hello to the people you’ll be digging with, and make shared travel plans if you wish.

💬 DigVentures Group Chat

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the DigVentures Group Chat. This is the place to say hello to your fellow Venturers, share memories, and ask people about making shared travel plans.

👣 Visitors

Unfortunately, we are not currently inviting visitors to site – sorry! This is to help protect our staff and our Venturers from the spread of Covid-19. If you want to be kept in the loop with everything we find, and what we do with it next, the best way to do this is to become a Digital Digger. You can do that here.

♿️ Taking part with a disability

We strive to do our best to ensure everyone has a chance to experience archaeology, and have worked with many differently-abled participants on our sites. There are practical considerations for special accommodations in dig environments, and we are very happy to discuss these on a case-by-case basis and do whatever we can to ensure a safe and exciting experience for everyone. Please notify us as soon as possible if you are concerned about your level of ability so that we can discuss options for participation.

📚 Reading list

Whether you read absolutely nothing, or everything you can get your hands on, you’ll learn loads while you’re on site with us. If you do want to get stuck in before you arrive, you can find out loads about what we’ve already discovered at digventures.com/lindisfarne

If you want to start something light, but still historically rigorous, we’d recommend The King in the North, by Max Adams – it’s about King Oswald, who founded the very monastery we’re looking for.

If you want something a bit more academic, there’s plenty of material by Dr David Petts (who is collaborating on the project with us) available online, including: 

Petts, D, 2013. Expanding the Archaeology of Holy Island (Lindisfarne). Medieval Archaeology 57: 302-307 http://digventures.com/lindisfarne/wp-content/uploads/Petts-Lindisfarne-Medieval-Archaeology.pdf

Petts, D, 2013. The Archaeology of Holy Island. The Tweed Valley Archaeological Journal, 172:sup1, 26-28 http://digventures.com/lindisfarne/wp-content/uploads/Petts-Arch-Journal.pdf

Petts, D. – Early Medieval Lindisfarne. YouTube video of a York Department of Archaeology Livestream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GBjPO3LZNA

There are a few more books too:

O’Sullivan, D, Young, R, 1995. English Heritage Book of Lindisfarne Holy Island, London: English Heritage.

O’Sullivan, D, 2001. Space, silence and shortage on Lindisfarne: the archaeology of asceticism in A. MacGregor and H. Hamerow (eds), Image and Power in the Archaeology of Early Medieval Britain: Essays in Honour of Rosemary Cramp, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 33-52

Foot, S, 2009. Monastic Life in Anglo Saxon England c. 600-900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

And finally, the British Library has digitised the Lindisfarne Gospels (also on display in the treasures gallery!)

The Lindisfarne Gospels Digitized by The British Library “Turning the Pages” http://www.bl.uk/turning-the-pages/?id=fdbcc772-3e21-468d-8ca1-9c192f0f939c&type=book

If you’ve got anything to recommend to your fellow diggers, tweet us at @TheDigVenturers!

⛏ Archaeology Skills Passport

If you are interested in recording your skills progression, we also recommend buying a BAJR Skills Passport. You can get them here.

👌 Choosing the right trowel

We provide all the tools you need to be able to dig with us, but you might want to bring your own trowel, especially if you’re digging with us for a longer period of time.

If you do decide to bring your ow trowel, it’s important to have the right kind. We suggest a WHS 4-inch pointing trowel. You can find these online at Past Horizons.

📱 Digital Dig Team

Digital Dig Team is DigVenture’s HLF-funded digital archaeological recording system. It is a customised digital recording system: think of it as an online version of the traditional paper context sheets used by archaeologists.

Our team (including you) will be standing over the trenches with iPads, recording vital information including photos, plans and information about who did the digging. We’re putting our excavation online. This will allow us to report our primary data from the trenches every day in real time, and all of our experts, specialists and Venturers will have access to it through the internet. No need to wait a year for the site report: you can see the information as it happens!

This new system is going to help archaeologists to do our jobs better, and also enable us to involve the public even more in our work. Digital Dig Team is the future of fieldwork – and we’ll be using it on all of our sites, as well as partner projects.

💬 Social media

Yes! One of the most important parts of any DigVentures project is sharing what we’re doing with the rest of the world. We have followers all around the globe who love to see where we’re doing archaeology and who we’re working with.

We will be broadcasting every day with blogs, tweets and on pretty much all other forms of social media. We encourage all of you who are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. to join us in providing a stream of information right from the trenches, but please remember that you are representing DigVentures in your posts.

We will do our absolute best to ensure that each of you has a fantastic time on site, but if you have any questions or concerns while you’re with us, please do speak to a member of staff before you post anything in the public domain.

Here are our simple and considerate rules for social media:

  1. Respect confidentiality if it’s requested – VERY IMPORTANT
  2. Follow all guidance given about sharing archaeological discoveries, especially sensitive finds like human remains (everyone will have a social media briefing on their first day)
  3. No insulting or abusive language about fellow diggers, the public or DigVentures staff
  4. Be polite and show respect for your colleagues and readers
  5. If in doubt, just ask a DigVentures archaeologist to review your post before you hit ‘post’
🤔 Answering questions from other tourists

Holy Island is a tourist attraction, and the site where we will be working is right in front of the abbey – it’s very visible and we will be in contact with the general public at all times. We encourage people to visit our sites even if they’re not digging with us, so it’s likely that you will come into contact with people who are curious during the dig.

We will do our best to help you feel empowered and knowledgable enough to answer any questions people have for you, both on site and off site. We strongly encourage you to speak to people asking questions, after all, this is your archaeology, if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, just call over a member of DV staff and we’ll help you!

With that in mind, everyone who is part of the DigVentures project must be conscientious, polite and responsible in our communication with the public and use of buildings and shared spaces. Group clean-ups will be a regular activity, and we ask that everyone pitches in to make sure that we are clean and tidy.

🏥 Insurance

It is the responsibility and obligation of all participants to ensure that they have adequate travel insurance covering their tickets, personal belongings and health. It is essential to confirm with your insurance provider that you are permitted to work in a voluntary capacity under their terms and conditions.

💖 Health & Safety

We take the well-being of our staff and participants very seriously. There will be a certified First Aider present at all times for every dig, and all participants MUST complete the Medical forms and sign the Risk Assessment document before they can begin their experience. Both of these documents will be distributed on site.

Every participant will be introduced to all DigVentures staff, and the Site Director will make the expectations clear regarding on-site behaviours. In the event that any participant violates the outlined conditions, or places any other participant in danger as a result of their activities, that person will be immediately asked to leave and will forfeit the remainder of their experience.

🛂 Visas and passports

Participants are responsible for making sure their passports are up to date and for securing any necessary visas. In most cases your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond your stay in the country you are visiting. Our dig experience may be based in a country for which you need a visa or you may also need a visa to travel through a country en route to your dig experience. If you are unsure about the applicable requirements, check with your travel company and/or the relevant embassy or consulate.

If you do have to apply for a visa for your dig experience, always ask for a tourist visa (unless stated otherwise in the dig Info Pack). Remember that the purpose of your visit is for vacation, holiday or travel. Immigration officials do not always understand, and words such as ‘working,’ ‘volunteering,’ ‘research’ or ‘archaeological dig experience’ can raise questions concerning the country’s foreign labour laws and/or questions about official research permits and credentials, etc. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the visa approval process, which can weeks or even months!

Note: If you are a citizen of one of the countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and are traveling to the United States or through the United States en route to another country, you must complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form online at least 72 hours before you depart for the U.S.

💉 Vaccines

Medical decisions are the responsibility of each volunteer and decisions about which vaccinations to receive should be made between you and your doctor. Health conditions around the world are constantly changing, so keep informed and consult your physician, a local travel health clinic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or The World Health Organization for the latest health information for travellers.

It may be worth checking that your tetanus vaccination is up to date prior to arriving on site.

🤠 Other safety and happiness measures

Our priority is to maintain a safe and friendly environment for our staff and participants. We love what we do, and we make a huge effort to welcome all participants to the world of archaeology with as much positivity and enthusiasm as possible. Our team hopes that everyone brings the same approach to our sites as we do, but we recognise that on very rare occasions things can go awry.

With that in mind, DigVentures operates a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for aggressive, harassing or threatening behaviour, and takes matters of interpersonal communications very seriously. This applies to members of the public, volunteers and staff. Support and advice is available for staff and participants experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment or discrimination; should you have an issue, please approach a member of DigVentures staff for assistance.

For physical injuries we always have a trained first-aider on site, and we will go through a risk assessment when you join us, as in our experience, when people are aware of safety issues accidents are mostly avoided. You cannot dig with us unless you’ve had the health and safety briefing, so please make sure you are on time on your first day so we can go through this with you.

😳 Cancellation by DigVentures

If DigVentures cancels your dig experience for any reason within DigVentures’ control, we will refund 100% of what you have contributed for the experience at the time of cancellation. Alternatively, you may prefer that your contribution can be carried over to another of our dig experiences.

DigVentures can take no responsibility for any cancellation or amendment penalties that your travel company may charge you if you have to change your travel plans as a result of cancellation by DigVentures. Your travel arrangements are subject to the terms and conditions of the company through which you booked. Participants are encouraged to buy flexible, refundable tickets, and we strongly advise Trip Cancellation insurance.

Archaeology / In Your Hands
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