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Hidden Secrets to be Explored at Peel Castle 29 June 2006

To coincide with National Archaeology Day, Manx National Heritage is hosting a special event day on 16th July, from 12.00noon to 5.00pm, when visitors will have the opportunity to explore the secret history of Peel Castle. Manx National Heritage staff will take you on a journey through time, where visitors can find out about the archaeological artefacts that have been discovered on St. Patrick’s Isle and meet the people who left them behind! Beads found in the Pagan Lady's grave

The aim of this national annual event is to encourage young people and their families to visit sites of archaeological interest, learn about archaeology and take part in activities on site.

Manx National Heritage has been involved with National Archaeology Day for the past few years but this will be the first time the event has taken place at Peel Castle. Katie King, Assistant Curator for Manx National Heritage, said.

‘Archaeological excavations have revealed much about St. Patrick’s Isle’s fascinating history. One of the most interesting finds was the grave of the so-called ‘Pagan Lady’. Her grave was excavated during the 1980’s and was found in a Christian burial site. But, she had been buried in a typically pagan style. This gave us clues as to how the Christians and the pagans interacted on the Isle of Man, seemingly coexisting, perhaps even respecting each other’s beliefs. But we’re not just concentrating on the Viking period, people have lived at this site for over 7,500 years and we’ll be looking at all of the major periods of occupation.’

Visitors will be taken on a guided tour of St. Patrick’s Isle, stopping at various ‘time stations’ to meet the people who once inhabited the Isle. Learn about the Islet’s prehistoric past, meet the Pagan Lady and learn about the infamous Magnus Barelegs. There will also be opportunities to discuss the Christian heritage of the Island and meet a Civil War Royalist Soldier!

Finally, discover how St. Patrick’s Isle became a magnet for Victorian antiquarians and tourists alike, eventually resulting in Peel Castle being preserved for the nation. At each ‘time station’ you will have the opportunity to view artefacts from the Manx Museum’s collection, which are the clues left behind by the past inhabitants of St Patrick’s Isle. In addition to the tours, there will be various family activities on offer including playing the Viking game of Merel, with human game pieces!

Visitors are encouraged to arrive from 12:00noon onwards - tours will commence every half hour. In the case of extreme bad weather the event will be staged at the House of Manannan in Peel.

National Archaeology Day at Peel Castle is part of National Archaeology week, a nationwide event in the UK. Peel Castle is part of the award-winning Story of Mann, and is open from 10am to 5pm daily, until October.

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