Leiston Abbey 2014

105.9% Funded
£19,060 Pledged
£18,000 Goal

About the Project

In 2013, DigVentures and our worldwide community of Venturers became the first team ever to run a full programme of archaeological excavation at medieval Leiston Abbey.

We absolutely could not have done it without the support of our worldwide community, both the passionate armchair archaeologists as well as the 120 Venturers from 13 countries who joined us on site for archaeological field skills training and our fabulous Geofizz Dirty Weekend and Archaeological Photography Masterclass.

We completed a two-week research excavation at Leiston Abbey, discovering that the mysterious humps and bumps around the Abbey are actually a previously unknown prehistoric phase on the site, as well as potentially revealing the lost eastern range of the Abbey complex. We had one of the nicest campsites any of us had ever seen, fantastic food, and of course the antics of Site Dog to keep us amused!

We are so excited to be heading back to Leiston Abbey in July 2014!

We need to follow up on last year’s results with further investigations of the previously unknown prehistoric phase in the lumpy bumpy field, and investigate the mysterious cropmarks that were discovered through aerial kite photography. But most importantly, this year we’re heading right into the heart of the ruins to locate lost trenches that were dug in the 1980s but never published.

All the information has vanished: where were the trenches located? What buildings were found? What objects were recovered? It’s up to us, and our Venturers, to figure it out!

We need to raise £18,000 to make this incredible project happen – and you can be a part of it, by supporting us through buying benefits. The more you contribute, the more involved you can become – from being one of the first to hear about our finds, to rolling up your sleeves and joining us on site in the trenches.

What will we discover about the previously unknown Bronze Age phase at Leiston Abbey? What lies under the mysterious cropmarks to the east? Where are the lost trenches from the 1980s, and can we recover any of the missing information?

We’ve got it all to play for as we take to the fields in search of Leiston’s lost history. Please join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to investigate a nearly untouched site with a full programme of archaeological fieldwork!

The Field School

As any of our Venturers can tell you, Leiston Abbey is a magical place. One of the most important aspects of working there is the fabulous surroundings; the ruins are not only beautiful, but are also one of the most important and best-preserved examples of a Premonstratensian Abbey in England.

The site is managed by Pro Corda, a registered charity and school devoted to nurturing young musical talent through ensemble and performance training. Pro Corda has invited DigVentures to help them understand the heritage of the site and integrate this fantastic resource with the artistic life of the school, ensuring that our team’s work will have a lasting legacy in the future of this fantastic place.

We’ll be working and living amongst the medieval ruins, and having our daily meals catered in the school’s lovely dining room. Amenities such as showers and toilets are available, and there is a fully stocked and staffed bar in the 14th century thatched barn. This is truly top-notch site life!

The Field School at Leiston Abbey (for those who purchase a benefit at £135 and above) will be very exciting this year. We’ve put a lot of thinking into making this the best experience possible, whether you are digging for a day, a weekend, a week or the whole project. We’ve expanded our team of experts, and there will be dedicated staff providing orientation, training and instruction, as well as evening lectures, fun outings and plenty of time for questions. And some surprises, of course!


What do I do?

Pick a benefit level, click on the green ‘Support Now’ button in the column at right, and purchase! Tell your friends and everyone you know, and ask them to get involved too.

You can also purchase benefits as a gift for someone else: don’t we all know someone who has a bit of a geeky fascination with archaeology? Send them our way! The more people who get involved, the more work we can do.

What happens after I have bought a benefit?

You will receive an email from us acknowledging your purchase and welcoming you to the DigVentures team. Immediately after the funding window closes, we will ship all physical merchandise such as pins and tee-shirts to our digital Venturers – those of you who will be joining us on site will receive your items when you arrive.

As soon as you support the project at any level, you will begin to receive news from the Site Hut, our online news hub containing exclusive daily project updates, plus all the interviews, films, and photos we’ll be broadcasting from site during the dig. If you can’t join us in the field, we’d love to have a crew of armchair archaeologists out there following our every move!

If you have purchased a benefit to join us on the dig, we will contact you right away to arrange a date, as places are limited and dates will be available on a first-come, first served basis.

Did we mention the party?

The End of Site party, of course! Every good site has a great party to celebrate the end of a successful season, and we’re no exception. Everyone who funds us will be invited to the DigVentures End of Site Party, where you will see a presentation on the season’s initial results, catch up on project news, mingle with the archaeologists, and get to meet other Venturers. And there’s bound to be some dancing too…

*Please note, the End of Site party is scheduled for Saturday evening, 19th July at Leiston Abbey from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. Some camping sites or other accommodation may be available, and there are plenty of B&Bs in the area. Stay tuned for more details!

How do I get in touch with the DigVentures team?

We’re here for you! All emails sent to info@digventures.com will be read and replied to by one of the team. We’re also on Twitter (@TheDigVenturers), Facebook and Skype (digventures). Our office number is 0208 333 5770, but we’re often out on site, so email is best.

Click here for more information about the archaeological objectives

… and here for more about the Leiston Abbey site

… and finally here for FAQs about the field school and what to expect on site!

  • This dig is appropriate for people of all skill levels. Beginners welcome!
  • Training will be provided in excavation, recording, finds processing, buildings recording, geophysics and more. Evening lecture series included.
  • Facilities include camping with on site showers, loos and catering. We can accommodate vegetarians, but those with more severe dietary requirements may need to plan ahead.
  • We can accommodate all ranges of physical mobility.
  • Must be 17 or older, or accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times who is also a registered participant of the dig.

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