Community dig to save beach’s burial ground

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A major archaeological dig involving local schoolchildren, university students, community and youth groups, volunteers of all ages and specialists from around the UK is taking place at Druridge Bay.

The ‘Rescued from the Sea Community Archaeology Project’, which will run until the end of August at Low Hauxley, has been made possible by a grant of £285,900 from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and additional funding from UK Coal and the Coast and Lowlands LEADER programme.

It will investigate the eroding prehistoric remains buried beneath the sand dunes on land owned and managed for wildlife by Northumberland County Council at the northern end of Druridge Bay and close to Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Hauxley Nature Reserve.

The eight-week project, being led by the trust and Archaeological Research Services Ltd, will explore the fragile site, which includes the remains of a hunter-gatherer settlement dating back at least 8,000 years and a 4,000-year-old prehistoric cemetery.

This ‘isle of the dead’ had huge spiritual significance for the people who returned to the site for many years to lay their dead to rest in stone lined graves or ‘cists’.