Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man Round Mounds: Archaeologists 'confident' of Bronze Age finds

Project co-directors Chris Fowler and Rachel Crellin
Image caption The project is being led by Chris Fowler and Rachel Crellin

Archaeologists say they are "confident" of finding more treasures "untouched for 3,000 years" during the excavation of a prehistoric burial site.

Nearly 40 students and experts from two UK universities are working on the dig in the west of the Isle of Man, alongside local volunteers.

The Round Mounds of the Isle of Man project is designed to examine Bronze Age burial practices.

Round mounds are ancient burial places dating back to at least 1,000 BC.

It is believed some of the material found could be 1,000 years older than that.

There are 200 round mounds on the island, but this is the first time modern techniques have been used to excavate one.

Research for the project started in 2016 when geophysics was used to analyse the site, which is situated on a hillside near Kirk Michael.

That was followed by an exploratory dig in 2017 and the opening up of two trenches last year.

Image caption Two new 26ft (8m) trenches are being excavated this year for explorations

Two new 26ft (8m) trenches are being excavated during this year's month-long dig, alongside the uncovering of one of the trenches from last year.

To date, the project has uncovered the cremated remains of five people.

Leicester University's Rachel Crellin, who is leading the project alongside Chris Fowler from Newcastle University, said the team had "every reason to believe" more would be discovered.

"We're pretty confident," she said. "We're expecting to find more burials based on what we've got."

Manx National Heritage (MNH) has contributed £35,000 towards the research and significant material found will be stored at the Manx Museum in Douglas.

MNH Director Edmund Southworth said the project focussed on a "very important period of archaeology on the island".

The findings will play a "hugely important" role in increasing the understanding of the "ancestors of the people of the Isle of Man", he added.

Image copyright ROUND MOUNDS ISLE OF MAN
Image caption Two of the cremations found in 2018 had been buried in upturned urns

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