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Durham University

University and City: Growing together

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Your chance to unearth our shared religious heritage

(13 June 2019)

From Stone Age rock art to Durham Cathedral, the North East of England has a religious heritage to rival anywhere in the world.

But while we know much about particular aspects and places, no-one has ever captured an overview of the topic, right from prehistory to the present day.

Now some of our archaeologists have set themselves the tasking of doing just that: and you can be part of it, thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Belief in the North East will study Neolithic rock art landscapes, Bronze Age burial mounds, an early medieval cemetery and medieval monasteries.

It will be led by experts from our world-leading Department of Archaeology. But we’re recruiting an army of volunteers, hopefully numbering several hundred, to help out.

How to get involved

Community volunteers have already been involved in directing the project. A day school which was held in October 2017 and attended by around 100 people helped decide that the theme would be the heritage of religion.

Looking ahead, there will be a wide variety of opportunities available, to suit the experience and ability of as many volunteers as possible. Opportunities include site excavation, digital photography, geophysical site mapping, landscape surveying, exploring historical archives, and document searches. Training and supervision from experts will be available, sometimes to undergraduate level standard.

Initial workshops will be held this summer, then fieldwork between summer 2019 and summer 2020. Final workshops are expected to take place in summer 2021, followed by a major conference.

An exhibition presenting the project’s finding will tour the region; and there will be lasting impact, with an online education pack created for schools.

Please contact us for more information or to register your interest. Then we’ll be in touch as further details are confirmed. Visit: