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Manx National Heritage Annual Archaeological Excavations 1 July 2005

    The annual excavations at Rushen Abbey are again underway, with expectations high that some exciting evidence of life in the Medieval Abbey will be discovered. Archaeologists from the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Manx Studies will be on site from now until 12th August.

    Last year, the excavations started to uncover a ground layer left behind when the Abbey was demolished after 1540 AD. Tantalizing glimpses of Medieval society were uncovered in the form of fragments of Medieval pottery and even a silver quarter penny from the mid-1200’s – minted in Canterbury! This year, the archaeologists hope to be exploring more fully the remains of the Medieval era and to try and solve the puzzle of a mysterious wall.

    Manx National Heritage Curator for Archaeology, Allison Fox said:

    “The idea behind the annual excavations is to shed more light on the history of Rushen Abbey as a Medieval monastery. We know lots about Cistercian Abbeys in general, but as part of the continuing development of Manx National Heritage’s interpretation of the site, we want to know more about Rushen Abbey in particular.
    This year should be especially exciting as we’ve not only started to get Medieval finds, but we also have a wall that shouldn’t be there! Cistercian Abbeys and their grounds were built to very uniform plans, but the builders of our Abbey seem to have had ideas of their own and added an extra structure near to the heart of the Abbey complex. We hope to be able to discover more about this example of Medieval Manx enterprise”.

    Excavation Guides from the Friends of Manx National Heritage will be on hand at Rushen Abbey everyday in July at 11.30, 12.30, 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30 to give 20 minute updates on the excavations.

    Allison Fox went on to say:

    “Manx National Heritage is fortunate to have such enthusiastic and able volunteers from the Friends of Manx National Heritage to help explain the latest developments on site.
    Last year, the Excavation Guides were very successful. They help to bring the archaeology alive for visitors to the site, letting them know the very latest news. The season of excavations, along with National Archaeology Day at the Abbey on July 17th, will help to demonstrate why Rushen Abbey was, and is, such an important and exciting place”.

    Rushen Abbey is part of the award-winning Story of Mann and is open throughout the summer until October 2005.

    1st July 2005

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