Big Ideas By The Sea: Scarborough's 'Big Dig' unearths Stone Age history in Old Town

Archaeologists have been delving into the past in Scarborough’s Old Town, as a precursor to a Big Dig this weekend.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 10:14 am
An excavation dig is taking place at Phoenix Court ... Marie Woods and Phoenix Court owner Mike Buttery on site.

Land at the Phoenix Court Hotel, on Castle Road, has thrown up some fine discoveries.

Owners Mike and Donna Buttery jumped at the chance to see what was hidden beneath their yard. After only a few hours, finds dating as far back as the Stone Age started to emerge.

Mike said: “This is a really exciting opportunity, I can’t wait to see what comes up next.”

Marie Woods making a discovery.

This unexpected discovery was the perfect precursor to the Scarborough Big Dig, which is happening this weekend, and is part of the new festival Big Ideas By The Sea.

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“This ‘Time-Team’ style dig over the weekend will take Big Ideas By The Sea festival into the community. And of course, we have Prof Carenza Lewis of Time Team taking part in the festival! We are extremely grateful to Anglo American for funding this event.”

Matt Parsons, General Manager External Affairs for Anglo American Crop Nutrients, based at Eastfield, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural Big Dig event in Scarborough.

Big Ideas by the Sea Nick Taylor, left, John Oxley, Organiser Kane Cunningham, and speaker Sarah Oswald.

“We are committed to taking an active and positive role in our local communities. Supporting the Big Dig event will hopefully inspire local people to take an interest in the archaeological history of the town, which is hugely important.”

There will be several bookable guided tours of the public trenches: Friday 2pm, Saturday 11am, 1pm and 3pm, Sunday 11am and 1pm.

To book, visit the Big Ideas By The Sea Eventbrite page.

As well as the excavations, the event will also include free activities in the Market Hall, and a hands-on experience for children to delve into the history of Scarborough’s past.

Phoenix Court owner Mike Buttery makes a discovery at the dig site.

Marie Woods, from Heritage Adventures, said: “Visitors will have the opportunity to handle genuine objects that tell a story about our past, and even dress up as a Roman!

“There will also be an opportunity to play a Minecraft Archaeological Adventure planned and designed by KrashLabs in Scarborough.”

Other activities are organised by the National Literacy Trust which will also be in the Market Hall, and painting on pottery class at Crafty Creations on Eastborough.

The 2021 Big Ideas By The Sea is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All and Yorkshire Coast BID. It included various talks, and the unveiling of new windows dedicated to war poet Wilfred Owen at the railway station.