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Black Soil


May 22nd To June 1st, 2023 

The Scarborough Big Dig 3, 2023


The Big Dig 3 will take place between May 22nd to June 1st 2023 from 9.30am to 4pm each day.  We will  excavate up to 100m2 on the green space at Paradise in Scarborough Old Town by St Mary’s Church. 


What are we looking for?


The archaeological excavation is designed to explore the development of settlement in Scarborough Old Town. Some of the questions we want to try and answer about Scarborough Old Town are: Is there evidence for occupation of the area in the Roman period? Written evidence suggests that a settlement here was burned by Viking raiders; is there archaeological evidence for this settlement and the Viking attack? Does this earlier settlement form the basis for the borough established in the shadow of Scarborough Castle by Henry I? How does the area around St Mary’s Church develop after the establishment of the borough by Henry I in the twelfth century? What evidence is there for the important 12th to 14th century pottery industry in Scarborough?


The 2023 Excavation


The excavation this year will take place on open green space at Paradise, Scarborough, within a secure fenced compound and will extend the area we excavated in 2022. 


The programme for the first week of the excavation, Monday 22nd May to Friday 29th May, will concentrate on working with schoolchildren from local schools. Young people will have the opportunity to excavate on a real archaeological site. They will also visit Scarborough Castle and learn more about this amazing fortification. 


From Saturday 27th May to Thursday 1st June the excavation will be open for volunteers to take part. We will have 10 places available each day for volunteers - you can book either a morning session or an afternoon session or a whole day. No previous archaeological experience is required - we will show you what to do! And participation is FREE!


How can I take part?


Please go to our ticketsource shop where you can book your place. You can book for either a morning session, or an afternoon session, or a full-day session. Booking goes live on Monday 17th April.


Book here ​​




The SBD is part of an ongoing community archaeology project that has been funded by Yorkshire Coast BID, the Community Lottery Fund, Anglo-American PLC and the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was initiated by Big Ideas By The Sea CIC and takes place in partnership with Heritage Adventures Ltd (HA), Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society (SAHS), and the Parish Church of St Mary’s, Scarborough. Permission to excavate on its land has been granted by North Yorkshire Council.

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