Historic Bronze Age dig under way in Morecambe

The team on site on the first day of the dig.

The team on site on the first day of the dig.

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Archaeologists have arrived in the district for the first scientific excavation of a Bronze Age burial mound in North West England in over 50 years.

The DigVentures crew are working on a Bronze Age burial mound in fields near Morecambe.

They are expected to be on site until July 17 and include TV archaeologist Raksha Dave who appeared on Channel 4 show Time Team.

The location has not been revealed due to security fears.

The DigVentures team have also set up a pop-up shop and ‘incident room’ at the Morecambe Heritage Centre on Marine Road.

Footage from the dig is being broadcast on a TV screen at the Heritage Centre.

The project is called ‘Barrowed Time’ and has been funded through donations to the DigVentures website where more than £16,000 has been raised.

The project came about after metal detectorists Matthew Hepworth and David Kierzek headed out to survey a small hill in a field overlooking Morecambe Bay.

Matthew’s detector picked up a bronze knife and chisel lying just under the surface. As it turned out, the items they’d found were 3,000 years old dating from the Middle to Late Bronze Age (1,000-800 BC) and the hill was actually a burial mound.

Matthew immediately reported the finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, who dug a small test pit to verify his finds. The results confirmed the need for a full-scale archaeological investigation.

“This presents the team with an unparalleled research opportunity to use the best and most innovative field techniques,” said a spokesman for DigVentures.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the burial monument was in use for 1,500 years, beginning in the Late Neolithic period and ending somewhere in the Middle to Late Bronze Age.

“The artefacts found so far are rare for the area, and remarkably well preserved. They also indicate that the barrow may contain an undisturbed burial, which presents a tremendous opportunity for further archaeological investigation.

“We are obviously not looking for treasure, and we don’t expect to find anything of significant financial value. The special thing about this dig is the very rare opportunity it presets to meticulously excavate every single item exactly as it was put in place in the Bronze Age, using the latest archaeological recording techniques. The context of these finds has the potential to provide priceless information, helping us to better understand this period and the customs of Bronze Age Britons.

“For now, we’re keeping the location of the burial mound secret to protect it from nighthawking (theft of artefacts at night) and we really can’t give too many details away. Instead, we’re establishing a dig HQ in Morecambe Heritage Centre on the Promenade, which will be the daily meeting point for everyone involved. It’s also where anyone who’s interested can stop by and hear all the news from site, see the objects we’re excavating, and be a part of the action.”