A team of archaeologists will travel to the Isle of Man to carry out excavations at a Bronze Age site, with support from the Steam Packet Company.
The 13-strong party will be led Dr Chris Fowler, Head of Archaeology at Newcastle University, and Dr Rachel Crellin of the University of Leicester, who is from the Island.
The Steam Packet Company is supporting the visit by assisting with travel costs for the archaeologists and their vehicles and equipment.
The July excavation, funded by Manx National Heritage and Newcastle University, is part of an ongoing project to investigate the Isle of Man’s prehistoric burial mounds which was launched last year. Updates on the project’s findings are posted to the Round Mounds of the Isle of Man website, http://roundmounds.wordpress.com.
Dr Fowler said: ‘More than 160 prehistoric round mounds are known in the Island, but very few have been excavated by archaeologists using modern techniques. The project will discover any remains of prehistoric activity that survive at the site of these two mounds and this will add to the ongoing study led by myself and Dr Crellin investigating all of the known round mounds and other Bronze Age burial sites in the Isle of Man.
‘These mounds of earth and stone were built over burial grounds, and have been found across the British Isles and continental Europe. First appearing in the Neolithic period, around 3800-3600 BC, round mounds with differing internal features and associated with a variety of burial practices were built sporadically during the Neolithic and in large numbers during the Early Bronze Age (c.2300-1500 BC). The project is investigating what these sites and their associated burials and artefacts can tell us about not only life on the Isle of Man in these periods, but also about interaction with other communities across Britain, Ireland and potentially beyond, in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.’
Dr Crellin added: ‘In addition to bringing students and staff to conduct the investigations in the Island, our visit will include plenty of outreach activities. We are running events with school children and guided tours of the site. The guided tours will take place at 3.30pm between 3rd and 14th July and booking is essential as places are limited. If you would like to come and see the excavation, or are interested in volunteering, please email [email protected].
‘On behalf of the team I’d like to thank the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its generous support in assisting with our travel costs.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The Isle of Man has a fascinating history and we already work closely with Manx National Heritage to support its exhibitions and promote its sites to visitors.
‘We’re delighted to help the team led by Drs Fowler and Crellin, especially as there will be opportunities for the community to find out more about the Island’s history and what has been discovered during the excavations on through the website as research continues.’
Photograph: Project archaeologists surveying at Bronze Age burial mounds near Kirk Michael