St Guthlac’s Hermitage, Crowland

This listing expired on August 13, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: MRJW+H5 Peterborough, UK

Season: August 14, 2022 to September 6, 2022

Session Dates: Session 1: 14th-24th August 2022 Session 2: 26th August-5th September 2022

Application Deadline: July 31, 2022

Deadline Type: Rolling

Program Type:

RPA Certified:

University of Sheffield and Newcastle University

Project Director:
Dr Hugh Willmott (Sheffield) and Dr Duncan Wright (Newcastle)

Project Description:

In AD699 St Guthluc established a hermitage on what was then a deserted fenland island at Crowland, Lincolnshire. His near-contemporary biographer, the monk Felix, provides a detailed description of his isolated dwelling that was said to be built into the side of a robbed out prehistoric burial mound. After Guthlac’s death the site remained a place of veneration, later being refounded as a monastery which survived until the Dissolution in the 1530s.

Excavations by the Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle in 2021 started to reveal evidence for the complex history of the site which corroborates the historical accounts. Extensive deposits of Middle Saxon occupation were found as well as earlier prehistoric material, along with the foundations of a much later medieval building constructed on top. This sequence showed the site still held religious importance for many hundreds of years after the saint’s death. Perhaps most intriguingly, the robbed out western wall of what seems to be a late Saxon church constructed from reused Roman material was encountered at the edge of the trench, this is a previously unrecorded structure and potentially of international importance. In 2022 the excavation team will be returning to investigate this possible church in the hope of shedding light on the monastic phase of the site, as well finding further evidence relating to St Guthlac’s time there in the 8th century.

Volunteers are welcome to join the excavation team in summer 2022. Two 11-day sessions are being offered (10 days digging with 1 day off in the middle) and each session costs £800 (approximately $1080 USD but do check at the time of booking). This fee includes supervision, instruction, camping and subsistence whilst on site (see below).

For further information and details of how to join us, please contact Dr Hugh Willmott

Period(s) of Occupation: Anglo-Saxon, Early Medieval, Early Christian, 7th-12th century AD

The site received considerable local press coverage in 2021: The site has just featured in the UK TV series 'Digging for Britain' Season 9 Episode 1, which may be available in your region.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 session

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No prior experience is necessary. On site instruction and supervision will be given by dedicated professional staff at all times.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation (included in the fee) takes the form of camping behind a local caravan park, just 10 minutes walk from the excavation site. Tents and air beds are provided. Volunteers will have access to basic campsite facilities (portable showers and restrooms, cooking area and communal mess tents). All meals are also included in the fee and the medieval market town of Crowland with shops, pubs and a pharmacy is a short walking distance away. The cost, as well as being inclusive of camping accommodation, also included transport to and from the nearest train station at Peterborough. Whilst it is impossible to know what the Covid19 situation will be by the summer, in 2021 the project managed to run successfully and safely. The excavation and camping are in the open air, and the project operated as a secure 'bubble' with lateral flow testing of volunteers on arrival. Should there still be the need, similar secure and fully risk-assessed measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of all concerned.

Academic Credit:
Unfortunately no academic credit is available.

Contact Information:

Dr Hugh Willmott

Department of Archaeology, Minalloy House, University of Sheffield


South Yorkshire

S1 3NJ

United Kingdom

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