22nd - 23rd September 2018

We're helping Tony Robinson throw the best archaeology party ever in honour of Mick Aston, from 22nd - 23rd September 2018. You can be there in person, or online!

106.2% Funded
£42,465.00 Pledged
£40,000 Goal



All the Full Weekend Tickets are SOLD OUT. Thank you to EVERYONE who has joined this initiative to celebrate Mick Aston’s legacy.

If you missed the chance to show your love, don’t worry! Due to popular demand, we have released more Virtual Tickets and Fringe Tickets in the DigVentures shop.

Team DV’s first festival is HERE!

Join us from 22nd – 23rd September 2018 on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for two days of archaeological excavations alongside lectures and Fringe-style family fun activities.

Can’t make it to Lindisfarne? Never fear! We’re hosting everything online via the DigNation ‘Virtual Festival’ for audiences around the world!

DigNation’s inaugural event is themed as ‘Dig for Mick’, and is planned as a celebration of the legacy of archaeologist and Time Team presenter Professor Mick Aston. Sir Tony Robinson, Mick’s co-host and lifelong friend, and the Patron of DigVentures’ Advisory Board, has helped to create the festival. In fact, the whole thing was his idea!

Tony wanted to host an event inspired by Mick’s mission to increase public understanding of archaeology and enable wider participation in the field, as well as recognise how the legacy of his work can be seen across academic, professional and public archaeology.

And, of course, to make it as much fun as possible, because Mick loved a party!

The lecture programme will draw on Mick’s varied career and celebrate his academic work, which inspired a generation of enthusiasts. Featuring many familiar faces as well as Mick’s students and colleagues, it will focus on the four main areas of his expertise – Monastic Archaeology, Medieval Settlements, Landscape Archaeology, and Public Archaeology and Science.

The excavations are part of DigVentures’ existing project on Lindisfarne with Durham University. We’ve been working on the island for the past two years and have already made some incredible discoveries; our trenches will be open during the festival, and tickets will be available for anyone who wants to jump in and try archaeology alongside our team.

In addition to the talks programme and dig, there will be a ‘Lab’ full of fun Fringe-style activities tailored for families, and a Saturday evening keynote lecture chaired by Tony Robinson. And then…a bar, and a band!

We are crowdfunding the festival so that everyone all over the world who loved Mick can join us in making this event possible. The event is independent and self-funded with no big corporates or other sponsors, because as Tony said in the video: it’s got to be EVERYBODY’s festival! There are just 200 tickets for the lecture theatre, and places in our trenches are very limited as well. If you don’t manage to nab a place to be there in person, never fear! We’ve done our best to throw to doors wide open with the Virtual Festival and other perks that will help everyone feel like they are on the island with us.

We need to raise £40,000 to make this event possible. If we don’t reach the full target, DigNation will still happen – however we will have to adjust the amount of digital coverage, ‘Lab’ activities and speakers to match the available budget. Any funding received over the target will be used to provide even more festival content, allocated to dig scholarships, archaeological charities supported by Mick, and further work to make archaeology accessible to everyone.

And, if you can’t be a part of the festival, just come and see the action! Lindisfarne itself is well worth a visit, and you’ll be able to see the trenches, visit our fabulous Finds Room, and mingle with the speakers and team.

Join us in launching DigNation, and helping Tony to throw the best party ever in honour of Mick Aston!

If you have any questions about what’s included, how to book, travel, accommodation, or other details – please read our FAQs first!

Do you do something creative and archaeological? Would you like to offer a session for the Lab? We’d love to hear from reenactors, artisans, folk dancers, musicians, crafters and anyone else with something to share at the festival. Get in touch: hello@digventures.com

Lindisfarne DigVenturesLet’s face it: Lindisfarne is MILES AWAY from anywhere, and it’s tiny.

We get it! Our solution is to extend the reach of DigNation to audiences unable to make it to Lindisfarne through a Virtual Festival programme.

Mick understood more than anyone that uncovering the past was something that everyone could get involved with, and enjoy. Like Mick, DigVentures is always trying to find new ways to bring archaeology to as many people as possible. We can’t wait to see how using new technology and the Virtual Festival experiment is going to help us to do this even better.

With the support of festival media partner Dan Snow and History Hit, we’ll be live streaming all of the lectures, hosted by Tony Robinson, for both days of the festival. There will also be live updates from the trenches, exclusive interviews with speakers, specially curated podcasts and video footage from the weekend, and a downloadable souvenir programme.

We will also be using live social media tools, such as Facebook Live and Periscope, throughout the weekend to bring you all the behind-the-scenes action, allowing audiences from around the world to be part of the action at DigNation in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago.

Plans are still underway to see just how much we can broadcast. The Virtual Festival is a big part of our budget – the more money we raise, the more programming we can share.

Registration begins 08:00am Saturday 22nd September at the Crossman Hall, Holy Island Village.

You will receive a pass giving you entry to the lectures, party and other festival venues. Due to very limited seating, there will be no admittance without a pass, and entry to the conference hall will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note, the timings for Sunday 23rd September are slightly different. The Crossman Hall will open at 09:15am with the first lecture scheduled for 09:45.

Click Here to View the DigNation 2018 Festival Talks Programme

The Excavations

Have you always wanted to try archaeology? Or do you have some experience already, and just fancy a ‘wee scratch about’ with our team? Have you always wanted to have a go at working with finds in the lab? Now is your chance!

Lindisfarne is renowned for being the site of an iconic Anglo-Saxon monastery founded by King Oswald in AD635. Abandoned after a series of Viking attacks, its exact location was lost for well over 1,000 years… until 2016, when DigVentures and partners Durham University tantalising new evidence of its whereabouts.

Made famous by chroniclers like Bede and Alcuin (and more recently by the popular TV show Vikings), it’s where the Lindisfarne Gospels were illustrated, where treasures that adorned the altars of early Medieval Europe were forged, and where thousands of miracle-seeking pilgrims came to seek healing. Lindisfarne’s power and influence reached deep into the heart of continental Europe, and was described as ‘the most venerable place in Britain’.

After the Vikings launched one of their first major raids on the British Isles by sacking the monastery in AD 793, the monks eventually abandoned Lindisfarne and fled to the mainland. Religious life didn’t come back to the island for another 300 years, and when it did, the returning monks built a brand-new priory whose ruins still dominate the island today. But, where is the original monastery, and how much (if any) of it left?

DigVentures have been working with Durham University on Lindisfarne since 2016 to answer that very question. We’ve already made fantastic discoveries that indicate we have indeed found evidence of the island’s earliest religious community – and there’s so much more left to find.

The DigNation festival will be held across the final weekend of our 2018 excavation season on Lindisfarne. If you choose to join us in the trenches, you’ll be working alongside our professional archaeologists, staff and students for the exciting final two days of the dig this year.

NO PREVIOUS ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. We have created a very special curriculum so that everyone who joins us in the trenches will have the chance to learn, have a great time and help us finish up our dig season. We will provide all the training, tools, and one-on-one instruction you will need.

Would you rather work with our Post-Ex team in the Finds Lab? You are very welcome to join us for training how to clean, handle, record and process the artefacts we’ve found on site. We’ll make sure you’ve got everything you need to get a taste of what it’s really like when archaeologists are done digging, and the research begins in earnest.

Of course, if you’ve got your own trowel, toothbrushes for cleaning finds, or other dig kit secret weapon – please feel free to bring them along!

What happens after I make my contribution?

As soon as you make a contribution to the campaign, we’ll send you a confirmation email requesting a bit more information. You will need to reply to this email as soon as you can to make sure we have all the details we need to get you booked in as a supporter for the project.

  • If you’re attending the conference on Lindisfarne and/or participating in the dig or finds room activities, you will recieve an Info Pack soon with more information about what to expect including logistics, meeting times, locations and contact information.
  • If you have signed up for the Virtual Festival, we will send you log-in instructions and more information before the festival begins.
  • If you’re expecting the festival tee shirt, stickers and badges, these will be shipped after the campaign closes in February 2018.

Once you’ve signed up for the festival, you will be automatically added to our mailing list for the event. This means when we’ll send you a message with any updates or special announcements – and you can always find us on twitter and facebook!

If you have any questions in the meantime, get in touch! You can reach us on hello@digventures.com, or 0333 011 3990

Travel and Accommodation

Travel and accommodation are not included in the ticket price, so it is up to you to make arrangements.

The first thing to know about getting to Lindisfarne is that you must plan ahead by checking the tide tables. Don’t get caught on the wrong side (or in the middle) of the causeway!

The second is that you must book your accommodation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The island is a very popular tourist destination, with a limited number of places to stay. They will be booked up very quickly.

**SPECIAL NOTICE: WE HAVE HEARD THAT THERE IS ALREADY SOME DIFFICULTY WITH ACCOMMODATION ON THE ISLAND. DON’T PANIC! Firstly, these dates were chosen because it’s a very favourable tide schedule. If your accommodation is off-island, you will have plenty of time in the morning and evening to travel and will not miss a thing. Additionally, many folks might be interested in cottage shares, or sharing transport, and we have set up a DigNation group Facebook page where you can connect with people if this is of interest.

Click here for an interactive map of Lindisfarne, showing parking, town amenities, attractions and viewing points.

Getting to Lindisfarne

Address: Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 2SH

OS map ref: NU 13636 41752

By rail: The nearest mainline station is at Berwick-upon-Tweed on the London (Kings Cross) to Edinburgh GNER line. There is a public bus service to the island but the frequency varies. There are also several taxi services (telephone numbers provided below)

By road: Take the A1 to the crossroad at Beal approximately 8 miles south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Follow the signposts to `Holy Island’, about five miles away. You’ll then have to drive over the causeway, which takes about 15 minutes.

By Bus: check here for seasonal timetables for the 477 bus


G.D, Taxis – Berwick-upon-Tweed – 01289 308842

Woody’s Taxis – Berwick-upon-Tweed – 07591 933223

Hunters Taxis – Seahouses – 01665 720400

Parks Hire – Seahouses – 01665 720542

Hotels, Guest Houses and B&Bs

In addition to island-based accomodation, there are also plenty of places to stay on the mainland within easy reach of the island, including holiday cottages, AirBnB’s, hostels and campsites. We’ve timed the festival so that people staying off the island will have no trouble making it to all of the festival activities. The best place to start looking is the Holy Island Village accomodation website.

There are also two pubs and two hotels on the island: the Crown & Anchor, the Ship, the Lindisfarne Hotel and the Manor House hotel. There are also several retreat centres and other facilities offered by the religious community.

On the mainland there are many places to choose from. The closest accommodation to the island is the Lindisfarne Inn, but a simple online search will turn up many options in the area.


There is strictly no camping allowed on Lindisfarne, but there are some great camp sites nearby on the mainland, inlcuding the Barn at Beal and Budle Bay.

Eating and Drinking on Lindisfarne

There are a variety of pubs and cafes on the island, as well as a village shop which sells basic supplies. If you would like to have dinner in one of the pubs or restaurants YOU MUST BOOK AHEAD. If you don’t book, chances are you will not be able to find a table for an evening meal.

What's happening in the 'Lab', and for families?

The ‘Lab’ and Family Activities

There will be plenty happening at DigNation in addition to the lectures and live excavation. We’ll have experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme on hand to identify artefacts (found something mysterious in your garden? Bring it!), flint knapping demonstrations, book signings, medieval cookery, castle and museum tours, archaeological comedy, Anglo-Saxon ‘illumination’ workshops, and more. And, you’re sure to see some of your favourite archaeologists wandering about – don’t hesitate to say hello!

Plans are also underway for the Council of British Archaeology and the Young Archaeologist’s Club to run a very special ‘Kids Trench’. We’re working hard to confirm those details, so stay tuned – we’ll announce more as soon as we can.

Our Finds Room will be open and in full swing with the artefacts recovered from our excavations over the past two years including our famous namestone. We’ll have a handling collection for everyone to touch, and experts on hand to answer your questions.

Lindisfarne is a magical place, with a fascinating history and plenty of natural beauty. The island is full of secret nooks and wonderful walks, and makes a truly lovely day out for families. We hope you join us!

How do I book my Dig or Finds Room Experience?

As soon as you book, one of our team will be in touch to help you schedule your experience and discuss any questions.

When will I recieve my tickets, Virtual festival log-in, tee shirt, etc?

Tickets: if you are coming to Lindisfarne, your name will be on a registration list at the venue. Registration will open at 8:00am on Saturday 22nd September. You will receive a conference ID badge that you will need in order to attend the lecture and other events.

Virtual Festival log-ins: You will receive the log-ins closer to the time of the festival.

Tee shirts, badges and stickers: All physical merchandise will be shipped after the end of the campaign in February 2018.

What is included in the Full Weekend Ticket? Do I recieve all of the other benefits?

The Full Weekend ticket includes entry to the conference sessions (on a first-come, first-served basis), ‘Lab’ fringe-style activities, the party, and a log-in for the Virtual Festival.

If you would also like a Dig/Finds Room Experience, or Tee Shirt/Badges/Stickers, you can add this to your order through the campaign.

Can I bring my kids if I've bought a full weekend ticket? Also, how many children can I bring with a Fringe ticket?

Entry to the conference sessions is very limited, so you cannot bring your under-12 children into the talks without a ticket for them as well.

There are also a limited number of tickets to the Fringe, which means that your ticket includes entry for under-12 children in your family only.

Can I bring my dog?

The only dogs allowed inside the Crossman Hall are registered service dogs. This includes the Fringe areas as well.

Lindisfarne is a very dog-friendly place, however. Your four-legged friend is welcome most other places on the island, and there are plenty of lovely walks (especially the dunes and beaches) and good sniffs to be had!

I bought this as a gift for someone else. Is there a gift card I can give them?

Yes! When you receive the booking follow-up email, you will have the chance to tell us who the booking is for, and whether or not you need a gift card. We will send you one that you can print and personalise at home!

Can I visit even if I'm not joining the festival?

Of course! Lindisfarne is a magical place, with a fascinating history and plenty of natural beauty. The island is full of secret nooks and wonderful walks, wildlife, beaches and cafes. Our tenches will be located right in front the Priory ruins, and they will be full of busy archaeologists. Stop by and say hi!

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