Rushen Abbey

More Manx archaeology:

Digging for the truth at Rushen Abbey

THE protective covers are coming off at Rushen Abbey as archaeologists gear up for their annual excavations at the Island’s most important religious site. Archaeologists from the Centre for Manx Studies, on behalf of Manx National Heritage, along with local volunteers, will return to continue their work to build a fuller picture of what life was like for the people who lived in and around the abbey during its time as a medieval monastery.

The 2007 digs unveiled evidence of the later life of the structure of the abbey.

Allison Fox, curator of archaeology for Manx National Heritage, explained: ‘Slowly but surely we’re starting to get more of an insight into how people lived on the site at Rushen Abbey, both when it was a home for the monks and after it was demolished.

‘Finds of roof tiles and medieval glass have indicated that, rather than being just demolished, the abbey buildings were carefully and systematically dismantled — probably to reuse much of the material — Medieval recycling!

‘We’ve also found some really interesting small examples of the everyday things used by people.’

The star find of last year’s excavation was a finely-carved bone ‘ear-scoop’ — a very handy tool to remove unwanted wax!

This year, once again, all of the finds from the excavations will be cleaned, recorded and labelled on-site, so visitors will be able to see everything that’s come out of the ground.

The excavations, which began this week, will continue to Friday, August 1.

Volunteer guides from the Friends of Manx National Heritage are on site most days to help explain the latest archaeological discoveries.

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