Lindisfarne

08 - 20 September 2020

Join our search for the famous early medieval monastery raided by the Vikings in AD 793.

161.6% Funded
/
£40,400.00 Pledged
161.6%

Lindisfarne is one of England’s most iconic early medieval sites. When the Vikings headed over, this famous monastery was their first target. For 1,000 years, its ruins were lost to history, but we’ve now uncovered some of its remains. You can help us gather the evidence and piece its story 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 early medieval kingdom of Northumbria.

Made famous by chroniclers like Bede and Alcuin (and 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?

DigVentures is searching for Lindisfarne's earliest monastery
So far, we've found Anglo-Saxon namestones
... ovens and buildings ...
... and several 8th century burials
Phil Harding has even been to inspect the trenches!
Join us online, or on site!

Over the last four years, hundreds of crowdfunders have helped us find some tantalising evidence, including buildings, huge ovens, early medieval sculptures, namestones (some inscribed with Anglo-Saxon runes), several early Christian burials, and all manner of artefacts including coins, hairpins, and even a pair of small copper rings.

It’s clear that we’ve now located a significant part of this missing monastery, and it’s time to dig deep and investigate in detail.

Who was living on the island before, during and after the Viking raids? What can we learn about their lives? And how did they survive?

Support this dig and you can excavate alongside our team, join us in the Finds Room, or follow our progress online as we uncover one of the most iconic early medieval sites in England, 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 continue the delicate process of recovering it.

The archaeology we’re poised to unearth in 2020 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 with continued excavation can we uncover the rest of it, and put this iconic site back on the map.

In September 2020, we’ll continue the search for King Oswald’s monastery. The excavation is set to take place over two weeks, from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th September.

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

  • Continue excavating the ovens and buildings, to see if we can find out what they were for. Mapping out the monastery’s layout will be a huge achievement.
  • Dig deeper into the past. So far, everything we’ve found has been dated to the 8th-10th centuries. But the more we dig, the further back into the past we can head…
  • Investigate the burials we found. We’ve already revealed that buildings and burials are intermingled, and unpicking them will help us learn more about the people who lived and died during Lindisfarne’s heyday
  • Look for evidence of life after the Viking attack. We want to assess the real impact of the raids on the island’s population

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 £25,000 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!

Where is it?

Our excavation area is located on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, in front of the priory.

This year, Dig HQ will be the Crossman Hall, in the centre of Holy Island Village.

What are the daily start and finish times?

Our dig days usually run from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, but Lindisfarne is NOT one of our usual digs!

Lindisfarne is a tidal island, and it is only safe to travel to and from the mainland at certain times of day. This means that our days will be governed by the tide (how romantic!).

You can check the tide timetables for September 2020 here.

We will flex our start and finish times each day to allow plenty of time for people to travel to and from the mainland.

The earliest we ever start is 09:00 am, and on days with a late morning tide we always allow at least 30 minutes from when the causeway opens to when we begin the day.

What do I need to know about joining the dig team?

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.

We’ve got tea breaks covered, however you will need to bring your own lunch and plenty of water.

Food, travel and accommodation are not included, however there is a list of links and helpful information provided below.

If you want to start planning your journey, check the rest of the FAQs for information about location, start times, food and accommodation.

What do I need to know about joining the Finds Room team?

Our finds 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.

We’ve got tea breaks covered (one of the joys of being in the Finds Room is having as much tea as you like, whenever you like!), but you will need to bring your own lunch and plenty of water.

Food, travel and accommodation are not included, however there is a list of links and helpful information provided below.

If you want to start planning your journey, check the rest of the FAQs for information about location, start times, food and accommodation.

What happens once I make my contribution?

If you’re choosing a Dig or Finds Room experience, you’ll be asked to select your t-shirt size, and start date at checkout (apart from ‘Dig for two weeks’, ‘Finds for a week’, or DigCamp, which have set start dates).

After that, you’ll receive a payment confirmation with the details you gave us.

You’ll also get a follow-up email asking for a bit more information we need to register you as part of the team. Please make sure you reply as soon as possible!

We’ll then send you an email reminder two weeks before the dig, with info about how to watch the dig online, and any final details about exactly where and when to meet us.

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!

When will I get my t-shirt?

If you’re joining us on site, you’ll receive your t-shirt when you arrive.

If you’re not joining us on site, we’ll send it to you at the end of dig season (usually October or November).

When will I get my digital goodies?

You’ll start getting all your digital goodies (like videos updates and virtual artefacts) when the dig begins.

Once the dig is over, it takes us about 12-18 months to analyse the finds and write up the official report. We’ll keep you updated with any significant developments from the lab during this time. It will be well worth the wait!

Is accommodation included? Where can I stay?

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!

If you want to make shared travel plans with other Venturers, please note we will be emailing all our crowdfunders a link to our Facebook chat group, where you can make shared travel and accommodation plans together if you wish.

We will be flexing the start / finish 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 on the dig or finds team?

ABSOLUTELY! We invite all our crowdfunders (and anyone else who is interested) to come and visit. Bring friends, bring family, and make a day out of it!

You’ll be able to come and talk to us in the trenches,and visit the Finds Room in the second week of the dig to see our discoveries.

If you’ve crowdfunded the dig, we’ll also let you know about any special events we put on closer to the time.

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

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

What if the weather is terrible?

If we could control the weather, we’d make it… temperate! Our ideal conditions are overcast (for taking photos), and drizzly (for keeping the ground soft). Sometimes, we also like a bit of sun (for good morale!)

If the weather’s truly terrible, or obscenely hot, then remember this: archaeology isn’t only outdoors! We can always head indoors to the Finds Room to work on the artefacts… cleaning, examining and identifying the things we’ve found so far.

Is there anything else I should know?

These FAQs should cover everything you need to know for planning your journey.

We’ll send you more specific joining instructions, with additional details about exactly where and when to meet us on Holy Island, two weeks before the dig begins.

Who else is supporting you?

This dig is being run in partnership with Durham University.

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.

Go on… tell your friends, tell your family, tell any archaeology-lovers you know and help us spread the word!

Digital Digger

Thanks for supporting great archaeology!

You’ll be able to watch the dig unfold online, and see the discoveries your support helps us make.

Once you’ve made your payment, we’ll send you an email letting you know where you can follow the dig when it begins.

We can’t wait!

£10
Make it official

A little extra support goes a long way!

At this level, you’ll get all the benefits of a Digital Digger, PLUS a credit in the official site report.

Once you’ve made your payment, we’ll send you an email letting you know where you can watch the dig when it begins.

And when the official site report is finally ready, we’ll email you a copy… with your name in it!

We’ll also keep you updated while we write it, with news about any significant findings we make while analysing the discoveries in the lab.

It can take around 12-18 months for all the results to come through and get the report written up, but it will be well worth the wait!

£25
Team T-shirt

Now you’re making a statement!

Pardon my trench. We don’t dig Mondays. Eat Sleep Dig Repeat. We pride ourselves on having the best archaeology team t-shirts in the field.

At this level, we’ll send you one of our latest exclusive designs, as worn by our team.

Choose your size at checkout, and we’ll then send your team t-shirt at the end of field season for you to wear with pride!

Note: we like to keep the design a surprise until the last minute!

(Team T-shirt includes all the benefits of Digital Digger and Make it official)

£50
Science Superstar

Let’s do more science!

Isotope analysis can tell us where people came from. Radiocarbon dates can determine how old things are. And residue analysis can reveal what an individual pot may once have contained.

 

Yes, scientific techniques can help us extract even more information from the things we find, but we need laboratory specialists to run the tests for us.

 

As one of our Science Superstars, we’ll put your contribution straight towards doing more analysis!

 

Once you’ve made your payment, we’ll send you an email letting you know where you can watch the dig when it begins.

 

You will also receive a special science update about any results we get, what they mean, and what goes on behind those lab doors! You’ll have to be patient with us though – it could take up to 12 months after the dig for any analysis to be completed.

 

Science Superstar includes all the benefits of a Digital Digger, and Make It Official.

Plus, you’ll know that your contribution is helping archaeologists to do more science!

 

£75
DigCamp

Archaeology isn’t just for adults!

At this level, you can bring your family to DigCamp for a full day of archaeology and fun, and the chance to make an ancient discovery… together!

Dates: Saturday 12th September 2020
Suitable for: Parents or guardians with children aged 6-11.

Each DigCamp ticket covers one adult and up to two children. If you want to bring more people, you’ll need to get another ticket.

You will need to enter the names, ages and other details of your family group at checkout (this is very important!)

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

£90
DigClub

Archaeology isn’t just for adults!

At this level, you can bring the fam for an archaeological adventure. You‘ll get to help unearth history, and then take your discoveries to the Finds Room to clean and identify them – all while hanging out with kids their own age. It‘s more grown up than DigCamp, but still just as much fun.

Dates: Sunday 13th September 2020
Suitable for: Parents or guardians with children aged 12-16. Each ticket covers one adult and one teenager.

You will need to enter the names, ages and other details of your family group at checkout (this is very important!)

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

£120
Finds for a day

Welcome to the fascinating world of finds!

You don’t have to dig to make discoveries. At this level, you’ll get to spend a fascinating day handling ancient artefacts with our Finds Team, and learning to clean, sort and identify the finds as they come out of the ground.

Dates: The Finds Room will be open in the second week of the dig (Tues 15th – Sunday 20th September 2020), and you can join us on Tuesday (sold out), Thursday (sold out), or Saturday (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

(also includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

 

£145
Finds for two days

Two days in the Finds Room means you get to handle twice as many finds, and have double the fun!

At this level, you’ll learn how to identify bones, ceramics and any other material that comes out of the ground, and try out some more advanced Finds Rooms skills, like using the flotation tank.

Dates: The Finds Room will be open in the second week of the dig (Tues 15th – Sun 20th September 2020) and you can start your two day Finds Room experience on Tuesday (sold out), Thursday (sold out) or Saturday (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

(also includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£290
Finds for a week

Bones, pottery, coins… there is just so much to learn about artefacts. But come and spend a week in our Finds Room and you’ll be up there with the likes of Helen Geake!

As well as learning to carefully clean, sort, and identify the finds, you’ll try out some more advanced skills, and make headway into what archaeologists do with artefacts next.

You’ll also learn about environmental sampling, and some of the other techniques that archaeologists use in the on site Finds Room.

Dates: The Finds Room will be open in the second week of the dig (Tues 15th – Sun 20th September 2020), so you’ll start your week on Tuesday 15th September 2020 (sold out)

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

(also includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£560
Dig for a day

Always wanted to try archaeology? Let’s make your dream come true!

At this level, you’ll get a taste of archaeology with a day digging alongside our team. No experience needed – we’ll teach you everything you need to know to make a REAL discovery.

Dates: The dig will run for two weeks from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th September, and you can join us on Tues 08, Thurs 10, Sat 12 (sold out), Sun 13 (sold out), Tues 15 (sold out), Thur 17 (sold out), Sat 19 (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig.

(also includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£185
Dig for two days

Two days of archaeology is twice as much fun!

At this level, you’ll get plenty of trowel time, plus a chance to try out some more advanced excavation skills, like investigating features, and interpreting stratigraphy.

Dates: The dig will run for two weeks from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th September, and you can join us on Tues 08, Thurs 10, Sat 12 (sold out), Sun 13 (sold out), Tues 15 (sold out), Thur 17 (sold out), Sat 19 (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig begins.

(includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£370
Friends with benefits

Archaeology is even more fun when there’s two of you!

At this level, you’ll get plenty of trowel time, plus a chance to try out some more advanced excavation skills, like investigating features, and interpreting stratigraphy… together!

Dates: The dig will run for two weeks from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th September, and you can join us on Tues 08, Thurs 10, Sat 12 (sold out), Sun 13 (sold out), Tues 15 (sold out), Thur 17 (sold out), Sat 19 (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig begins.

(includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£590
Dig for a week

Level up for a whole week of digging and we’ll teach you how to start thinking like an archaeologist…

You’ll be in the trench from Day One, learning lots of excavation skills, like how to locate archaeological features, investigate what they are, and try your hand at a wide range of different archaeological problems.

By the end of the week, you’ll also know that archaeology is about so much more than digging, and be starting to use different techniques – from geophysics to photogrammetry – to piece the evidence together like a REAL archaeologist!

Dates: The dig runs from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th 2020, so you can join us for the first week (8th – 13th September), or the second week (15th -20th September) (sold out).

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig begins.

(includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£700
Dig for two weeks

Seasoned pros would trade their favourite trowel for an opportunity like this!

At this level, you’ll get to see the full cycle of an excavation, experience the enormous variety of skills that go with it, and start to see archaeology in a whole new light…

You’ll begin to build up the ‘big picture’ view of archaeology, and how archaeologists interpret a site as new evidence comes to light. You’ll put all these skills into practice and walk away with the confidence to use them – wherever archaeology takes you next.

Dates: The dig runs from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th 2020, so you’ll be joining us from start to finish!

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

You can choose your start date, and enter the details of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, and a welcome email with more information about the dig. Please read it carefully.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig begins.

(includes all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

£1350
£25 per night

This year, we’ve hired the SVP Camp bunk house. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and it’s right in the middle of the village, just a few minutes walk from the dig site – perfect for archaeologists!

Beds at the bunk house (a.k.a., DigVentures Second Best Exotic Archaeology Hotel) are exclusively available to people who have signed up to join the Dig Team, Finds Team, DigCamp or DigClub.

👉 Find out more and book your bed here 👈

(Don’t click ‘Support now’ – that will add another dig for a day to your basket)

Beds

Archaeology student wanting to top up your field skills?

DigVentures is the UK’s only CIfA-accredited field school, and digging alongside our team will give you the chance to try some of the most cutting-edge field techniques.

We’re even happy to give you a skills assessment, targeted training, and… a 20% discount!

To claim your discount, just choose your Dig or Finds Room experience, add it to your basket, and then enter the code DIGSTUDENT20 to get a 20% discount.

Dates: The dig runs from Tuesday 8th – Sunday 20th 2020, so you can join us for the first week (8th – 13th September), or the second week (15th -20th September).

Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll receive a payment confirmation, followed by another email asking for some registration information. Please complete it as soon as you receive it so that we can confirm your place on the dig.

You will also need to send us an email from your tutor confirming your enrollment status.

You can choose your start date (remember: we don’t dig Mondays), and enter the names and t-shirt sizes (S-XXL) of anyone you are booking for at checkout.

Basic details about where to meet, what to bring, and other information for planning your trip is available in the FAQs on this page.

We will also send you an email reminder containing any final details you need to know two weeks before the dig begins.

(You’ll also get all the benefits of Digital Digger, Make It Official, and Team T-shirt)

**Want to brush up on your archaeology skills before you arrive? Use the discount code CROWDFUNDER2020 to get a 20% discount on ‘How To Do Archaeology’, our six week online course starting in February**

Student discount
161.6% Funded
/
£40,400.00 Pledged

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