Archaeologists to study Bronze age history


The 28-strong party will also hold an open day for members of the public, offer volunteering opportunities and run a schools programme for island children during the four-week visit.

It will be led by Dr Chris Fowler, Head of Archaeology at Newcastle University, and Manx lecturer Dr Rachel Crellin from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

The Steam Packet Company is supporting the visit by assisting with travel costs for the archaeologists, as well as their vehicles and equipment.

The excavation site, on the coast road between Kirk Michael and Peel, is part of an ongoing project, launched in late 2016, to investigate the Isle of Man’s prehistoric burial mounds (earthen mounds built over human burial sites).  

Dr Crellin said: ‘This year we are doubling the length of our excavation season and we can’t wait to get our trowels back out and see what can be revealed. Last year we were lucky enough to find our first burial within the mound, a cremation buried in a pottery vessel in a small cist. Analysis over the winter has revealed that the burial was of a young child who was sadly under two years old when they died.

‘The Isle of Man is home to more than 160 round mounds but very few have been excavated using techniques that have left a detailed and reliable record.

‘Round mounds were built sporadically during the Neolithic period and in large numbers during the Early Bronze Age. The project is investigating what these sites and their associated burials and artefacts can tell us about life on the Isle of Man during these periods, but also about interaction with other communities across Britain, Ireland and potentially beyond.’

The team will be digging from Sunday 24th June until Friday 20th July and there’ll be a chance for locals to volunteer on site and have a go at being an archaeologist.

‘Whether you’d like to take part for a day or the whole dig, you will be made very welcome,’ added Dr Crellin.

‘We provide full training on site and allow you the opportunity to have a go at archaeology and discover part of the prehistoric past of the island.

‘We will be bringing across students from the Universities of Leicester and Newcastle as part of their degree studies, many of them dug with us last year.

‘Our visit will include plenty of outreach activities such as events with school children and guided tours of the site.

‘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. It makes a huge difference to the overall cost of the project and we are very grateful to them.’

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘This is important research so when the team approached us to support a second year of the project we were pleased to help.

‘It is particularly encouraging that there will be further opportunities for the community to find out more about the island’s history and what has been discovered during the excavations to date.’

Site tours will be run from 8th – 12th July and again from 15th –18th July and booking is essential as places are limited. If you would like to come and see the excavation, or are interested in volunteering, you can book a place by e-mailing: [email protected]

You can find out more and see updates about the project, funded and supported by Manx National Heritage and the Universities of Leicester and Newcastle, via: or via twitter: @archaeojapery