Sunday, September 23, 2018
You are here: Isle of Man > Isle of Man News
Isle of Man News
General News
New Archaeological Finds Uncovered at Rushen Abbey 24 July 2006

The season of archaeological excavations at Rushen Abbey is almost halfway through and things are getting interesting! Under the guidance of staff from the Centre for Manx Studies, trained volunteers have been helping Manx National Heritage to uncover more of the remains of the Abbey.

Allison Fox, Curator: Archaeology for MNH, said: Sieving archaeological finds at Rushen Abbey

“We went in to this excavation season with the intention to clarify the relationship of what we thought could be four of five additional buildings. But, as ever, the dig has revealed some surprises.

We may actually have uncovered a large courtyard near the centre of the Abbey complex, with buildings around the outside. The size of the space inside the walls is bigger than most of the other buildings on the site, so it would have been difficult to roof, hence the interpretation as a courtyard. Again, Rushen Abbey refuses to conform to the standard plan used in most other Cistercian abbeys!

There are also a number of what could be filled-in post-holes appearing on the site. These could be the remains of the demolition process at the Abbey which happened in the mid-1500s. Medieval scaffolding poles could have been placed in these holes, giving the workmen easy and safe access to the Abbey. The way some of the dismantled material is lying also indicates that the demolition was done systematically and with some thought to recycling – the window glass would have been highly prized so was removed carefully first, then the doors, their fittings and the slate roof was removed.

The excavations themselves are a real draw to visitors. We had help digging last week from 15 teachers from the USA, we’ve had a number of local school groups coming to have a look, and many positive comments in the ‘Visitor’s Book’ that people have enjoyed seeing and talking to the archaeologists.

Archaeological excavation isn’t started without a lot of thought about what we’re trying to find out and what questions could be answered and it’s only when we have clear aims that digging happens. But, it’s also great that people find the actual process of digging to find out about the heritage of our Island so fascinating”.

There is still plenty of time to visit the Abbey and see what’s happening, as the excavations run until the 25th August. Volunteer guides from the Friends of Manx National Heritage will be on site to help explain the latest archaeological discoveries. Rushen Abbey is part of the award-winning Story of Man, and is open from 10am to 5pm daily until 31st October 2006.

More stories >>>  

Related News Articles
Manx Museum Sunday Opening 26 July 2012
The Manx Museum will once again open this Sunday (29 July) to local residents and visitors, and to welcome passengers from the ‘Quest for Adventure’ cruise ship scheduled to arrive early on Sunday morning. [More]
Easter Events 18 April 2011
Hats off to Manx National Heritage this Easter as our sites are bursting at the seams with activities for all to enjoy. [More]
Official Opening of ‘The Abbey Restaurant’ 4 August 2010
Strawberry and Cream Teas are now back on the menu at Rushen Abbey where Manx National Heritage and its new catering partners Sarah and Artan Giummri on Monday officially opened the doors to the new Abbey Restaurant. [More]
Songs of Praise at Rushen Abbey 8 July 2010
On Sunday 11th July join Manx National Heritage at Rushen Abbey and enjoy the sounds of choral music at the annual Songs of Praise service in the Abbey Gardens. [More]
‘Once upon a time’ at Rushen Abbey 10 September 2009
Once upon a time at Rushen Abbey. [More]

Other Guides by Maxima Systems Ltd: Disney World