Isle of Man hosts Festival of Archaeology

The Isle of Man will be celebrating all things archaeological from July 17th to August 1st. The celebrations are to coincide with the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of British Archaeology, and will be the first time the Island has run its own Festival of Archaeology.

Manx National Heritage in association with other organisations has devised an exciting and diverse programme of events, which has something to offer all ages and taste. Activities during the festival include screenings of Hollywood archaeology movie classics, tours of the Island’s ancient sites and monuments, ‘Digging the Internet’ sessions offering an insight into the amazing world of archaeological resources on the worldwide web, open air Shakespeare performances at Rushen Abbey and Peel Castle, and a sunset tour of Peel Castle with an opportunity to meet our Medieval Castle Guard! One of the highlights of the Festival will be National Archaeology Day at Cregneash on Sunday 25th July. During this family-friendly day, visitors will be able to join our team of archaeologists and demonstrators and have a go at some experimental archaeology, learn about Neolithic pottery design, investigate the archaeological heritage of Cregneash and participate in several guided tours around Meayll Hill, taking in the military radar station.


Allison Fox, Curator of Archaeology for Manx National Heritage said, ‘The Isle of Man has such a wide variety of archaeological sites, from prehistoric burial sites, through Viking ship burials to structural remains of the key role the Island played in the development of radar in wartime. During the two weeks of the Festival of Archaeology, we hope to be able to share some of this fascinating heritage and to encourage those who are curious about the past to go out and discover even more for themselves.’

The Festival begins on Saturday 17th July with a screening of two cult Hollywood classics at the Museum, ‘Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘National Treasure’. The Festival of Archaeology runs from Saturday 17th July to Sunday 1st August.


The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, is home to a wide variety of archaeological and historical sites dating back to the Middle Ages. Castle Rushen, for example is situated at the centre of Mann’s historic capital, Castletown, and is one of Europe’s most finely preserved medieval castles. Its origins can be found in the Norse period when Norse Kings fortified a strategic site guarding the entrance to the Silverburn River. The Castle was developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th centuries, and its towering limestone walls would have been visible over much of southern Mann.

Rushen Abbey, which lies less than two miles from Castle Rushen, was first built in 1134. Parts of the Abbey buildings still survive and Manx National Heritage are working to show it archaeological remains to the public.

For further details on any of the events see Manx National Heritage website or contact Katie King at the Manx Museum on 648000.

Source: Isle of Man Government