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Friday, May 29, 2015

Preparing For Maryport, Cumbria, UK

Senhouse Museum Maryport

I once visited a portion of Hadrian's Wall when Carol and I visited Scotland with our good friends Rick and Margan in the spring of 2008. We were all quite impressed with this 2,000 year old structure created by the Romans as a protection from the barbarian tribes to the north. My interest in palaeontology has led me to also have a passing interest in archaeology and with our frequent visits to England I have often thought that it would be interesting to be involved in an organized dig.
So similar to my volunteering at West Dean Gardens in 2009, I started to try and find a way to make this become a reality. In August 2014 I wrote an email to the son of a family friend, Dr. James Barrett, Professor of Archaeology, Cambridge University UK.  He provided me with information on a few opportunities and suggested that the excavations at Maryport under the direction of Dr. Ian Haynes, University of Newcastle may be of interest to me. I followed this up with a letter to Dr. Haynes and had a response from him in November. He offered me a spot on his excavation team as a volunteer and they would be starting in June of 2015. They have been excavating at Maryport, Cumbria in conjunction with the Senhouse Museum since 2011. You can see their results by year by checking out the website at

Of course I was thrilled for this opportunity and am very much looking forward to it.
Mark Potter also of the University of Newcastle has been appointed as the coordinator for the volunteers and he has sent me the instructions required for participants. The dig I was invited on was from June 15-26
I decided that I would spend an extra week in the UK to make the most of my time there. So I booked my flight on Westjet to Glasgow for an overnight trip on June 6 arriving early on Sunday morning. WJ only started direct flights from Halifax to Glasgow on May 29 so I will be one of their first customers on that route. I will come home on June 27 in time to arrive for my parent's 65th Wedding Anniversary reception.
My itinerary so far looks like this: June 7-8 Glasgow; June 9-10 Burnhead near Haltwhistle; June 11-12 Carlisle. I have booked accommodations for these six nights at a variety of places and am very happy with my choices. I still have a couple of open nights on June 13-14 but will likely be in Maryport. I have booked a room at a Ship's Inn B&B (basically a pub) in Alonby from June 15-20. According to Mark that is the town where the team has it's camp site do I will be able to spend time with them in the evenings. I may go to Maryport for the second week. Alonby is about 5 miles from Maryport where the actual dig will occur.

This is the final year of the excavation so I am really privileged to be on it.

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