Lindisfarne

4th - 19th September 2018

DigVentures is searching for the monastery at the heart of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. After three seasons of excavation, we're starting to piece together the evidence...

102.1% Funded
/
£30,625.00 Pledged
/
£30,000 Goal
102.1%

Lindisfarne Highlights

Lindisfarne is one of England’s most iconic Anglo-Saxon sites. Lost to history for over 1,000 years after being raided by the Vikings, we’ve now located some of its remains. You can help us gather the evidence and piece it back together.

Sitting on a small tidal island opposite the famous Bamburgh Castle, King Oswald chose Lindisfarne as the place to establish a monastery in AD 635. But it was no ordinary monastery: it quickly grew to become the golden heart of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.

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 the 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 by Alcuin as ‘the most venerable place in Britain’.

But archaeologists still have some very big questions to answer: where exactly was it, and does any evidence still survive?

Over the last two years, hundreds of crowdfunders have helped us find some tantalising evidence, including several early Christian burials, Anglo-Saxon sculptures and monumental buildings very similar to those at other important early Medieval monastic sites like Hartlepool.

It’s clear that we’ve now located a significant part of this missing monastery, but there’s plenty left to find.

Support this dig and you can excavate alongside our team, join us in the Finds Lab, or follow our progress online as we uncover one of England’s most iconic Anglo-Saxon sites and piece its story back together.

Lindisfarne’s early monastery sat right at the heart of Northumbria’s Anglo-Saxon power and politics. It was a major population centre, a hub of cultural influence, and a place of fusion between the Roman and Irish religious worlds.

Now that we’ve located a significant part of the site, we need to recover and record its remains. A lot of evidence survives, and by supporting this dig, you can help us begin the delicate process of recovering it.

The archaeology we’re poised to unearth in 2018 has the potential to offer huge insight into the lives of those who lived through Lindisfarne’s golden age, endured the Viking attacks and witnessed this transformative period in English history.

Some of the discoveries our crowdfunders made are so significant that they featured in the Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail and on BBC4’s Digging For Britain programme – this was the very first time any crowdfunded discovery had been featured on the show. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

We found several Anglo-Saxon burials, a namestone, a monumental wall, the outline of several early medieval buildings, plenty of pottery, and a silver coin minted during the reign of King Eadberht, as well as some curious bone artefacts which seem to be proof that some people continued to live on the island long after the monastery was supposedly abandoned.

Lindisfarne is one of the most iconic sites in England’s Anglo-Saxon history. Having been missing for over 1,000 years, we’ve now located a significant part of it.

Only a full-blown excavation can now uncover the rest of it, and put this iconic site back on the map.

In September 2018, we’ll continue the search for King Oswald’s monastery. The excavation is set to take place over two and a half weeks including:

  • Tuesday 4th – Sunday 9th September
  • Tuesday 11th – Sunday 16th September
  • Tuesday 18th – Wednesday 19th September

Now that we’ve located a significant part of the monastery, our plan is to use this time to:

  • Investigate the burials we found.  One of our main aims will be to find out if they were part of a more extensive cemetery that belonged to the original Anglo-Saxon monastery
  • Look for evidence of life after the Viking attack. We want to assess the real impact of the raids on the island’s population
  • See if we can find traces of more buildings. Mapping out the monastery’s layout will be a huge achievement – what we found so far was just a little corner of it

We’re also changing the way archaeology is done, sharing the results and discoveries so that you can watch as we make them.

We need to raise £30,000 to carry out our excavation, analyse everything we find, and make the results available online. By supporting the dig, you will be helping us to:

  • Plan the dig. There are some (fairly complicated) logistics involved!
  • Run the excavation. We need enough archaeologists on site to make sure that everyone who comes digging with us has plenty of expert support
  • Pay for all the ‘aftercare’. We’ll need specialists to conserve and take care of all the artefacts we find – especially any burials and human remains
  • Analyse all the finds. We’ll also need specialists to analyse and interpret everything we find, including any burials, animal remains, ceramics, metal artefacts and environmental samples
  • Share lots of updates before, during and after the dig. It doesn’t start and end with excavation. We’ll be publishing videos, live streams, virtual artefacts and blogs so that you can follow the whole process from start to finish
  • Make sure that all of our data, discoveries and interpretation are freely available online. We think that the results of publicly funded research should be free and easy to access. We’ll be putting all of ours online as soon as they’re made.

Support this dig and have a role in some great archaeology!

What happens if we don't reach our crowdfunding goal

We’ve set our crowdfunding goal to match the level of excavation and analysis we think this site deserves. Obviously, the closer we get the better, and the more people who join in the more we can discover, but we won’t abandon our plans if we fall shy of the target – this archaeology is too important to miss!

If we don’t reach our goal, we’ll stick to our guns and do the dig anyway – we’ll just scale down the size of the excavation to suite.

For example, we’d excavate a smaller area and send fewer artefacts off for scientific analysis, but the dig would still happen and you’d still be part of our team.

That being said, we’re confident we’ll reach our goal because we know there’s incredible archaeology waiting to be found and people like YOU are willing to help us prove it!

What happens when I make my contribution?

PLEASE NOTE: We will be communicating with you on the email address you use for your purchase. If you haven’t heard from us, please check your junk or spam folder.

As soon as you make a contribution to the campaign, you’ll get a payment confirmation.

We’ll then follow up with a welcome email thanking you for your contribution, and (where relevant) to request a little bit more information about things like preferred dig dates, or details for your chosen reward, like t-shirt sizes etc.

You’ll need to reply to this welcome email as soon as you can to make sure we have all the details we need to get you booked in.

If you’re digging with us, we will send you an Info Pack with more information about the site, what to bring and joining instructions closer to the time.

If you need to book travel and accommodation, we’ve provided some hints and tips in the following FAQs.

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

What's included in the dig experience?

Our dig experiences include all the tools, training and one-to-one instruction you will need in order to learn and have a great time whilst you are on site with our team. You will also receive an Info Pack and suggested bibliography for the site, post-excavation updates and a copy of the Final Report when it is published.

Travel and accommodation are not included, however there is a list of links and helpful information provided below. We’ve got tea breaks covered, however you will need to bring your own lunch and plenty of water.

When will I get my goodies?

We’ll send everything in May at the start of the 2018 field season.

You’ll then start getting all your digital goodies (like videos updates and virtual artefacts) as soon as the dig begins!

Which days can I dig with you?

The dig runs for two and a half weeks, including:

  • Tuesday 4th – Sunday 9th September 2018
  • Tuesday 11th – Sunday 16th September 2018
  • Tuesday 18th – Wednesday 19th September 2018

If you are joining for two weeks, you can start your dig experience on Tuesday 4th September.

If you are joining for a week, you can start your dig experience on Tuesday 4th, or Tuesday 11th September.

If you are joining for one or two days, you can start your dig experience on Tuesday 4th or Thursday 6th September.

Everything else is now fully booked.

Which days can I join you in the Lab?

If you don’t want to dig, but do want to help out in the Finds Lab, you can join us in the second week of the dig:

  • Tuesday 11th – Sunday 16th September 2018

You can start your lab experience on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (fully booked) or Sunday.

Where is it?

Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland. We’ll send you more information once you’ve signed up.

Do you have any advice on accommodation in the area?

Accommodation isn’t included, so you can shoose to stay wherever suits you best in terms of locaiton and budget.

A quick search online will reveal that there’s plenty to choose from, from holiday parks and self-catering cottages, to B&Bs and hotels – something to suite every budget!

It’s important to note that Lindisfarne is a very popular tourist destination and accommodation gets booked up extremely quickly.

If you’re coming to dig with us, we recommend that you book your accommodation for the dig as soon as possible. Here’s a few suggestions:

Hotels, Guest Houses and B&Bs

There are many places to rent a room on Holy Island. A good place to start looking for a place to stay is: https://www.lindisfarne.org.uk/accommodation.htm

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

Camping

There is strictly no camping allowed on Lindisfarne, but there are some great camp sites nearby on the mainland.

Some of the DigVentures team will be at the Barn at Beal: http://barnatbeal.com/camping/ .

We also recommend Budle Bay Campsite: http://www.budlebaycampsite.co.uk/

What about food and transport?

You’ll need to make sure that you can get to Lindisfarne for a morning start – remember to check the tide tables! We will be flexing the start/finsih times for each day around the tides, so don’t worry that you’ll be missing anything. If you’re staying off-island, you won’t be the only one!

And remember you’ll need to bring your own lunches, or cash to buy some from a local cafe.

Can I come and visit even if I'm not digging?

Anyone can come and visit! If you’ve supported the dig and give us a heads up, we might even be able to squeeze you onto one of our VIP tours.

What if I have done archaeology before, or am an archaeology student?

We are the only field school officially accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists in the UK.

We also offer a special discount rate for students – just look for the ‘Student’ benefit level.

Is there anything else I should know?

If you’re digging with us, we’ll send you more specific joining instructions closer to the time.

What if I've booked to come, but can't make it in the end?

We can either transfer your dig days to another excavation, or you can bequeath them to someone else… go on, pass on the archaeology love!

What if the weather is terrible?

Archaeology isn’t only outdoors! If the weather’s truly terrible, we can head to the archaeology lab to work on the finds… cleaning, examining and identifying the things we’ve found so far.

Who else is supporting you?

This dig has also received plenty of support from Durham University, and from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

How else can I help?

Crowdfunding isn’t the only way you can help. Even just sharing our campaign on social media could introduce us to someone else who wants to support the dig!

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