DIG (York Archaeological Trust)

Co-financed by the Welcome Trust and the National Lottery, and housed in a listed Norman church, Dig is a 3/4 million pound educational based attraction operated by York Archeological Trust, who also own and operate the renowned Viking-based Jorvik.

The original brief was to create an environment where kids could experience what it is like to be a real archaeologist. In this age of Health and Safety it is not expedient to send seven year olds trudging out into frozen muddy fields in mid winter so we were asked to simulate some of the conditions and situations that archaeologists experience during a “Dig”.

The interior installations were devised such that school groups could actually dig and discover pre-placed artifacts buried under tiny rubber granules (emulating soil). Before each group visit, archaeological evidence is hidden under the surrogate soil – skeletons, coins, crucibles, dolls and so on – where the children discover them for themselves, and so begins the process of excavation.

Each party is taught the basics in a simulated site hut before they are sent out to dig.

RMA created a complete archaeological environment where visitors can experience for themselves the various processes surrounding a dig, with facilities for sketching, researching, conserving and curating their finds.

Touch screens assist visitors in identifying their finds, from foods and pots to Viking Poo!

There are four main areas, covering Roman, Viking, Mediaeval and Victorian eras.

Incredibly popular for school parties, a visit to Dig has now been included in many schools’ regular teaching curriculum.

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