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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Help dig deep into heritage this May in Mid and East Antrim!

Community dig in Carrickfergus

The Community Archaeology Programme NI (CAPNI) are visiting Shaftesbury Park in Carrickfergus this May to undertake a community dig – and they are on the look-out for some willing volunteers to help with their excavations!

Taking place from 21-31 May 2024, aims to uncover exciting historical artefacts and details in the local area – and in particular a mysterious fort marked on a 1830’s map of the area.

The dig is part of a three-year archaeological heritage programme, organised by the Community Archaeological Programme Northern Ireland (CAPNI) based at Queen’s University Belfast.

The aim of CAPNI, which was made possible thanks to a grant of more than £600,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to the Centre for Community Archaeology at Queens University, is to engage the public with their local archaeological heritage through participation in excavations, surveys, experimental archaeology, walking tours and festivals.

Stakeholders in the upcoming project are Carrickfergus Museum and Carrickfergus & District Historical Society(C&DHS) - Secretary Helen Clarke said:

“We are thrilled to be involved with this project as part of the Society’s 50th anniversary celebrations. A community dig is something we have been discussing for years and now it’s happening.

“We are hoping to uncover the ‘fort’ that is shown at this location in the earliest OS map from 1832. It is believed to be an early medieval settlement - but we’ll have to wait and find out!”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna welcomed the upcoming dig adding:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to get hands-on with their local heritage. I am thrilled that the CAPNI project will bring this kind of community activity to Shaftesbury Park and I wish those involve every success.”

On the lead-up to the dig and during the dig, Carrickfergus Museum and Carrickfergus & District Historical Society will be taking over a ‘pop-up’ shop at No. 2 Joymount from 11 May – 1 June.

The ‘pop-up’ shop will showcase the joint partnership working of both organisations and act as hub for the CAPNI dig - offering updates on the excavations, displays and lunchtime talks.

If you would like to take part in the excavation you cansign up at



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