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Saints & Secrets 2014

In 2013, DigVentures and our worldwide community of Venturers became the first team ever to run a full programme of archaeological excavation at medieval Leiston Abbey.

We absolutely could not have done it without the support of our worldwide community, both the passionate armchair archaeologists as well as the 120 Venturers from 13 countries who joined us on site for archaeological field skills training and our fabulous Geofizz Dirty Weekend and Archaeological Photography Masterclass.

We completed a two-week research excavation at Leiston Abbey, discovering that the mysterious humps and bumps around the Abbey are actually a previously unknown prehistoric phase on the site, as well as potentially revealing the lost eastern range of the Abbey complex. We had one of the nicest campsites any of us had ever seen, fantastic food, and of course the antics of Site Dog to keep us amused!

We are so excited to be heading back to Leiston Abbey in July 2014!

Join or support it here:  http://digventures.com/projects/saints-and-secrets-2014/


We need to follow up on last year’s results with further investigations of the previously unknown prehistoric phase in the lumpy bumpy field, and investigate the mysterious cropmarks that were discovered through aerial kite photography. But most importantly, this year we’re heading right into the heart of the ruins to locate lost trenches that were dug in the 1980s but never published.

All the information has vanished: where were the trenches located? What buildings were found? What objects were recovered? It’s up to us, and our Venturers, to figure it out!

We need to raise £18,000 to make this incredible project happen – and you can be a part of it, by supporting us through buying benefits. The more you contribute, the more involved you can become – from being one of the first to hear about our finds, to rolling up your sleeves and joining us on site in the trenches.

Spooky! by Adam Stanford.
Spooky! by Adam Stanford.

What will we discover about the previously unknown Bronze Age phase at Leiston Abbey?  What lies under the mysterious cropmarks to the east? Where are the lost trenches from the 1980s, and can we recover any of the missing information?

We’ve got it all to play for as we take to the fields in search of Leiston’s lost history. Please join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to investigate a nearly untouched site with a full programme of archaeological fieldwork!

The Field School

As any of our Venturers can tell you, Leiston Abbey is a magical place. One of the most important aspects of working there is the fabulous surroundings; the ruins are not only beautiful, but are also one of the most important and best-preserved examples of a Premonstratensian Abbey in England.

The site is managed by Pro Corda, a registered charity and school devoted to nurturing young musical talent through ensemble and performance training. Pro Corda has invited DigVentures to help them understand the heritage of the site and integrate this fantastic resource with the artistic life of the school, ensuring that our team’s work will have a lasting legacy in the future of this fantastic place.

We’ll be working and living amongst the medieval ruins, and having our daily meals catered in the school’s lovely dining room. Amenities such as showers and toilets are available, and there is a fully stocked and staffed bar in the 14th century thatched barn. This is truly top-notch site life!

The Field School at Leiston Abbey  (for those who purchase a benefit at £135 and above) will be very exciting this year. We’ve put a lot of thinking into making this the best experience possible, whether you are digging for a day, a weekend, a week or the whole project. We’ve expanded our team of experts, and there will be dedicated staff providing orientation, training and instruction, as well as evening lectures, fun outings and plenty of time for questions. And some surprises, of course!

Places in the Field School (from 7th July – 20th July) are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We sold out quite quickly last year!

What do I do?

Pick a benefit level, click on Support Now‘  Tell your friends and everyone you know, and ask them to get involved too.

You can also purchase benefits as a gift for someone else: don’t we all know someone who has a bit of a geeky fascination with archaeology? Send them our way! The more people who get involved, the more work we can do.

More about Saints & Secrets 2013

We captured all of the archaeology and fun on film, so that everyone could be with us every step of the way, even if you couldn’t join us on site. Our videos are a unique record of site life, and give a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like. Check out the videos

We took hundreds of photos documenting every aspect of the dig. Have a look at our project here

The Leiston Abbey 2013 Archaeological Project Design


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