Archaeologists ask for help in search for early monastery

The archaeological excavations on The Heugh on Holy Island.
The archaeological excavations on The Heugh on Holy Island.

Holy Island residents are being asked if they would like to have their gardens dug up.

Archaeologists are planning excavations next autumn and want help in their search for an early monastery.

Writing in the Island newsletter, Lisa Westcott Wilkins, managing director of DigVentures, said: ‘We know that much of St Aidan’s community lies underneath Holy Island village, and many of you may have evidence of this just under your feet.

‘DigVentures and Durham University are planning further excavations in September 2018, and we are on the look-out for volunteers who would like us to dig a test pit in their garden as part of our hunt for the early monastery.

‘The pits will be 1m x 1m, and will be fully backfilled and left in good condition.’

Meanwhile, a talk on what has been a special season for archaeology on Holy Island at the Crossman Hall on November 15 at 7pm.

Findings have included a new, very rare Anglo-Saxon namestone and this summer’s discovery of burials as well as a previously unknown chapel on the Heugh.

Archaeologists from DigVentures and The Archaeological Practice will be attending to discuss the results, take questions and share plans for the future.

If you’re interested in volunteering your garden, please get in touch with Lisa Westcott Wilkins on 07787188184 or email