14 - 16 May - Scarborough

The Scarborough Big Dig is a community archaeological dig that will invite local people to explore the history and archaeology beneath their feet, whilst learning more about the place they live.

Taking place as part of ‘Big Ideas By The Sea’, the dig will consist of up to 20 small trenches located in gardens and open spaces across Scarborough Old Town – the medieval heart of Scarborough. Residents, school children and festival visitors will be able to take part in the systematic excavation of soil and collecting, washing and recording finds from the trenches. 

Scarborough Old Town
Scarborough was an incredibly important medieval town and port. The town as we now know it originated in a borough founded by Henry II in about 1163 and laid out in a grid of streets running down from the spine road called Castle Road towards the harbour. Such was the success of that new town that Henry II granted a second charter and sanctioned the creation of an extension to the west. This became the New Borough and the original borough became known as the Old Borough. Both had their own defensive circuits. There was an important medieval pottery industry, and pottery made in Scarborough is found across the country.

Whilst much is known about medieval Scarborough, there is still more to learn about the development of Scarborough Old Town. One of the aims of The Scarborough Big Dig is to develop the understanding of the archaeological history of the area.

Get involved
If you live in the Old Town and would like to dig an archaeological trench in your back yard or garden as part of The Scarborough Big Dig, or if you want to get involved as a digger during the event, then please email the team on bigdig@sahs.org.uk.

The Scarborough Big Dig is supported by Beyond Housing, Heritage Adventures and the Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society.