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New archaeology festival announced in memory of pioneer Mick Aston

New archaeology festival announced in memory of pioneer Mick Aston

Sir Tony Robinson announces DigNation – a weekend festival programme of live excavations and talks on Lindisfarne in memory of friend and Time Team co-host Mick Aston.

Mick Aston and Sir Tony Robinson

DigVentures, the crowdfunding archaeological social enterprise, announces its inaugural archaeology festival, DigNation. Taking place on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the festival features two days of professional excavations alongside lectures and other activities that can be enjoyed by audiences around the world via the DigNation ‘Virtual Festival’.

The first festival, taking place in September 2018, celebrates the legacy of archaeologist and Time Team presenter Professor Mick Aston. His friend and co-host, Tony Robinson, has helped to create the festival, which has been inspired by Mick’s lifelong mission to increase public understanding of archaeology and enable wider participation in the field.

Featuring high-profile experts, it will focus on the four main areas of Mick’s expertise – Monastic Archaeology, Medieval Settlements, Landscape Archaeology, and Public Archaeology and Science. Well-known for his multi-coloured sweaters and varied career across academia and television, the festival will his work that inspired a generation of archaeology enthusiasts.

In addition to the talks programme and dig, there will be a ‘Lab’ full of activities tailored for families, and a Saturday evening keynote lecture by Tony Robinson.

DigVentures has also extended the reach of the festival to audiences unable to make it to Lindisfarne through a virtual festival programme. Engaging armchair archaeologists across the globe, online audiences will be invited to take part through social media, live streaming and specially curated podcasts and video footage from the weekend, with the support of festival media partner Dan Snow and the History Hit channel. The virtual festival allows participants of all ages and levels of experience to be part of the excitement and fulfils Mick’s aim of widening access to archaeological discovery.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is renowned for being the site of a major Anglo-Saxon monastery founded by King Oswald in AD635. Abandoned after a series of Viking attacks, its exact location was lost for well over 1,000 years until 2016 when DigVentures discovered new evidence of its whereabouts. Unearthing important artefacts from the monastery, discoveries included a rare Anglo Saxon grave marker dating back to mid-7th to 8th century AD.

DigNation has been launched for crowdfunding on the DigVentures website, allowing anyone interested in the event to pledge support for the festival. In return for backing the project, supporters can receive a range of perks, including access to the virtual festival programming, as well as the opportunity to bag one of the limited places to join the team at the conference and dig on Lindisfarne. Any funding received over the target will be allocated to dig scholarships, archaeological charities supported by Mick, and further work to make archaeology accessible to everyone.

Sir Tony Robinson said: ‘Mick was passionate about archaeology and in getting new audiences hooked on the excitement of a dig, whether by getting their hands dirty in a trench or watching discoveries unfold from the comfort of their own sofa. DigVenture’s platform allows audiences from around the world to be part of the action at DigNation in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago, and Mick would have loved that.’

Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Managing Director of DigVentures, said: ‘Mick understood more than anyone that uncovering the past was something that everyone could get involved with, and enjoy. Like Mick, we’re always trying to find new ways to bring archaeology to as wide a field as possible, and we can’t wait to see how using new technology is going to help us to do this even better.’

Tickets are now available to purchase from the DigVentures website.

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