CASTLETOWN, ISLE OF MAN
The first season of work in 1995 took the form of an extensive evaluation of the land identified for quarrying. It involved test pitting, geophysical surveys, and the excavation of seven trenches. This was followed by the large-scale excavation of areas known to contain Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age deposits in 1996-2000.
The earliest finds so far are Mesolithic flints, including fine tanged points of the later Mesolithic. Features of late Mesolithic date have also been revealed. During the middle Neolithic, about 4000 BC, things really got going on the site. A causewayed boundary reminiscent of those found at major enclosure sites in southern England crossed the hill on which the site stands. It has been traced for over 140m by geophysical survey, and about 50m of it has been excavated. Finds include dozens of leaf shaped flint arrowheads which might suggest it was defended against unwanted human or animal invaders. Moreover, the ditch had been re-dug on several occasions and in its latest phase a line of upright stones was set up along the inside edge. By about 2500 BC the enclosure had probably gone out of use, but people were still using the hill. Four earthfast jars in the Ronaldsway style have been found, along with a mini-henge, cremation pits, a long mound or cursus monument, a pit circle, and numerous pits and shafts.
By about 1000 BC respect for the earlier sites had gone, and the hill was intensively farmed. A series of five or six round houses was uncovered on the highest part of the hill and these will be examined in the 2002 season. Later still, around 300 BC, the site was the focus of a small metalworking industry in which iron and copper were worked into trinkets and ornaments.
Much remains to be discovered at Billown. The eighth season of fieldwork in the summer of 2004 will focus on exploring Neolithic features to the north of the main enclosure boundary, including pits and a section of the Neolithic boundary ditch as well as Iron Age structures and associated features. In addition to work at the main Billown Quarry Site it is hoped to continue the programmes of geophysical and topographic survey at nearby sites.
For more information about the site or the dig experience please see the Billown research pages.
Two kinds of external participation are offerred:
Volunteers. Whether experienced in archaeology or not, volunteers are welcome to join the field-school on a weekly basis. In addition to work on site, including, where appropriate, tuition in the application of methods and approaches, volunteers can participate in the programme of seminars and lectures. A Certificate of Attendance will be given to all volunteers.
Students. Individuals engaged
in a programme of study relating to archaeology anywhere in the world are
welcome to join the field-school for one of the four weeks blocks as
students. The dates for this option are 9th June through to the 7th June inclusive.
The course is fully validated; it is credit-rated at 20 Credits in Level 2
of an undergraduate Honours degree programme. Assessment is based upon coursework
comprising continuous assessment of practical competence in archaeological
investigation, together with an excavation logbook (1500 words with appropriate
copies of plans, sections, drawings and records appended). The notebook must
be submitted for examination in October 2004 (exact submission date to be
announced). Course validation details relating to this unit (AHE2-5) are printed
on separate sheets taken from the BSc Archaeology Course Handbook, and can
be sent to potential applicants seeking to participate as students.
For all participants, work on site will take place daily between 8.45 am and 5.30 pm, Monday to Sunday (with Saturdays off). All participants in the Project should normally be aged 18 years or over unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
|Volunteer participants resident
on the Isle of Man
(including tea & coffee, but not lunch or transport)
|£10 per week|
|Volunteer participants not
resident on the Isle of Man
(including tea & coffee, pack-lunch, and transport from Castletown to site)
|£80 per week|
|Student participation for
validated course (4 weeks)
(including tuition fees, examination fees, course materials, tea & coffee on site,transport from Castletown to site, pack-lunch)
Bournemouth University is recognized by the US Department of Education (OPE ID 03350300). For North American students our Title IV code for HEA Programs is 03350300 and our British Columbia registration code is PVAE.
The following bed-and-breakfast
establishments are situated in and around Castletown:
|Ballavell Farm, Ballasalla
(tel: 01624 824306) `
|"Fern Lea", Ballamodha, Nr
(tel: 01624 824192)
The following self-catering accommodation is
also available (price inclusive of VAT):
|Balladuke Farmhouse, Ballabeg,
(tel: 01624 822250)
|£430 - £525/wk - sleeps 6|
| Golden Meadow Mill,
(tel: 01624 825576/01530 230301)
|£180 - £440/wk - sleeps 6|
|Ronague Holiday Homes, Ballabeg
(tel: 01624 823355 or tel/fax 0171 628 0755)
|£350 - £500/wk - sleeps 4|
Hotels and guest-houses are also available in Port Erin (7km), Peel (15km), and Douglas (13km), but would necessitate finding your own transport.
Further information about other accommodation available on the Island can be obtained from: Manx Tourist Office. Tel (01624) 686801 web site: www.gov.im/tourism .
The Island's principal airport, Ronaldsway, is located near Castletown, 13km south of the capital, Douglas. Frequent flights are available to and from London (Heathrow and Luton), Manchester, Liverpool, Belfast, Blackpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Jersey, Cork and Dublin via Jersey. Flight details can be obtained from Manx Airlines, Isle of Man, tel: 08457 256 256 Web site: www.manx-airlines.com
The Isle of Man Steam Packet operates all year round from Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin and Heysham. Crossings are also available from Ardrossan, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Dublin, Eire. Average crossing time are about 3 hours. Enquiries should be directed to the Steam Packet Company, Isle of Man tel: 08705 523 523 Web site: www.steam-packet.com.
Rail tickets direct to Douglas are available, using main rail routes and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (see above for contact number).
Travel Services of Douglas can make travel bookings. Contact: Sue Arnold, Travel Services, Douglas, Isle of Man. tel: 0345 581 407 web site: www.isleofmantravel.com
What to bring with youIn addition to your normal travel supplies you will need to bring with you:
If you can't join the Project why not visit us ?
Darvill, T, 1987, Prehistoric Britain. London & New York. Batsford & Yale University Press
Darvill, T, 1996, Billown. Current Archaeology, 13.6 (no.150), 232-237
Darvill, T, 1999, Billown Neolithic Landscape Project 1995 - 1997. In P.J. Davey (Ed), Recent archaeological work on the Isle of Man (BAR 278) Oxford, Arcaheopress, 13-26
Darvill, T, 2000, Neolithic Mann in context. In A. Ritche (Ed) Neolithic Orkney in its European context. Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs. 371-85.
Davey, P, (ed), 1978, Man and environment in the Isle of Man ( BAR 54). Oxford. British Archaeological Reports
Ford, T, 1993, The Isle of Man ( Geologists' Association Guide 46). London. Geologists' Association
Robinson, V, and McCarroll, D, (eds), 1990, The Isle of Man: Celebrating a sense of place. Liverpool. At the University Press
Selkirk, A. (ed), 1971. The Isle of Man Special Issue. Current Archaeology, 3 (no.17) 88-99
Annual reports about the Project have been published and are available from Oxbow Books, Park End Place, Oxford. OX1 1NN (Tel.: 01865 241249).