Cumbria Crack

Archaeology Dig at Holme Cultram Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey

West Cumbria Archaeological Society has received support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund it has been announced.  The Society is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £69,300 towards the Holme Cultram Harbour Project.

Holme Cultram Abbey at Abbeytown was the largest monastic house in Cumbria and was founded by Cistercian monks from Melrose Abbey in Scotland.  The parish church is all that remains of an extensive complex. A series of excavations has revealed many details about the location and function of these previously lost buildings.

This project aims to build on discoveries in 2016 when local volunteers working on one of the excavations uncovered a jetty to the south east of the abbey. Vessels travelled in from the Solway Firth on a long filled-in deep water channel using this as a landing stage, possibly during the construction period of the Abbey

Thanks to the National Lottery players this community archaeology project will revisit this area and focus on the ways in which the monastery used and adapted the river. It will provide an exciting opportunity to investigate the rich history and changing Landscape of the Solway Plain

Local volunteers and schools will be engaged in all aspects of the project through working with local company Grampus Heritage and Training Limited as well as the Solway AONB who will deliver the education strand of the project. The activities range from archive research and geophysical surveys through to coring, excavation and post excavation assessment of material. All of these will have full training and support provided by professional archaeologists.

Society member Mike Lister said “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. It will enable to us follow up work done in recent years and involve members, volunteers and the wider community in uncovering more of the fascinating history of Holme Cultram Abbey.

The Society is looking for volunteers who are interested in assisting in all areas of the project including excavation, research and finds processing.  The excavation phase of the project will begin on Wednesday 24 April and will last for approximately 3 weeks.  No experience is necessary.

Numbers on site at any one time will be limited for safety reasons and prospective volunteers are asked to register an interest with the Society on [email protected] or via our FaceBook page – West Cumbria Archaeological Society.

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