Sign up for summer archaeological dig

Carlisle archaeological dig

The award-winning community archaeological dig, Uncovering Roman Carlisle (URC), is set to return to Carlisle’s Roman Bathhouse to discover more of the remaining mysteries of the site.

The dig at Carlisle Cricket Club will take place between Saturday 11May and Saturday 15 June.

Once again, there is the opportunity to take in the dig by signing up to be a volunteer. Anyone interested in taking part can register their interest at

Hundreds of volunteers have already contributed to the dig. Limited spaces are available for volunteers. No prior experience in archaeology is needed, just enthusiasm in learning about Carlisle’s past.  

This project is delivered by a partnership of Cumberland Council, Carlisle Cricket Club, Tullie, and Wardell Armstrong LLP.

Councillor Anne Quilter, Cumberland Council’s Executive Member for Vibrant and Healthy Places, said:

“The summer excavation in 2024 will once again provide opportunities for Cumberland residents to take part in archaeology and heritage, or for groups, schools, and individuals to visit a live archaeological excavation. Half of all volunteers, self-styled as The Diggers, have never taken part in an archaeological excavation before, and all are welcome.

“I look forward to visiting the dig again this year and meeting everyone involved in this exciting project.”

The site will be active and open to the public between Monday and Saturday of each week of the dig. Tours of the site will be held between 10am and 3pm each day, groups over 10 are encouraged to contact us through the new website and make a booking. Schools are encouraged to visit the site - with over 600 pupils visiting in 2023. A small temporary exhibition will coincide with the excavation in the Carlisle Tourist Information Centre in May.

Uncovering Roman Carlisle has received funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Wardell Armstrong LLP alongside Cumberland Council, Tullie, and Carlisle Cricket Club would like to get as many people to visit in this incredible project as possible.

The funding aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. The project will allow members of the public to take part in the community excavation or visit free of charge.

Frank Giecco, Technical Director at Wardell Armstrong, said:

“We are very happy to be welcoming people from Cumberland and beyond back to the site. I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve and of all the diggers and everyone who has contributed and continues to give so much to the project. It’s so much more than we could have expected when the bathhouse was first discovered.

“Volunteers have gone on to work or study archaeology and related fields due to the project, we see a lot of new faces a lot of returning, and even feature in BBC and Smithsonian documentaries and international news. All the project partners are really looking forward to being back! It’s a bit like with a sport, people are learning and developing and growing through active participation in archaeology and the artefacts continue to shed more light on Carlisle, which was once Rome’s frontier city.

“As always, we want people to come and see the dig and visit the site. We have a new website you can find out more at, or if you want to bring a group or are a school wanting to visit you can contact us and book through. Around 6000 people came to see the dig last year, and we have tours by volunteers at the site between 10am and 3pm each day, anyone can just walk up, but groups over ten I’d encourage to contact us through the website and make a booking.”

The bathhouse is the largest known building on Hadrian’s Wall, with over 2800 significant finds, and hundreds of volunteers having been offered over 2800 volunteer places offered in past phases of the project since 2021. URC has so far won four awards, three archaeological achievement awards from the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and an award from the Society for Museum Archaeology for the 2023 exhibition. URC featured on the most recent series of Digging for Britain with Prof Alice Roberts.

Discoveries by The Diggers has been essential in uncovering over 2,800 significant finds. Among these; 550+ Roman coins from centuries of occupation, 300+ hair pins, Imperial stamped tiles (tiles literally fit for an emperor), North African style vaulting tubes for roof construction, hundreds of stunning glass beads, gaming pieces, even a rare Roman doll’s foot. Significantly, 70 intaglios have been discovered in the drains. These are magnificently carved gemstones which dropped from Roman signet rings when the glue holding them melted in the bathhouse heat. In 2023, two monumental and unique carved stone heads were discovered by a volunteer on their first ever excavation.