July started by marking Tynwald Day, the national holiday of the Isle of Man, with the outstanding Mesolithic house found at Ronaldsway Airport. For Bastille Day, we travelled to northwest France, where OA worked at the Chauteau de Mayenne and discovered its intriguing story. We then started the Festival of Archaeology at Hinxton Hall, Cambridgeshire, where a volunteer on his first feature discovered an amazing ivory sword grip. Calling it beginner's luck is an understatement! And we concluded July and the Festival of Archaeology with a visit to Furness, in Cumbria, where our colleagues in Lancaster found the burial of an abbot with a stunning and well-preserved crozier.  

Mesolithic Isle of Man

The first #OAat50 highlight for July is packed with exciting discoveries. In 2009, OA worked on the extension of Ronaldsway Airport on the Isle of Man and uncovered a Mesolithic house from the first phase of colonisation of the isle, a Neolithic structure and pits, a Bronze Age settlement, and Iron Age roundhouses and burials.

Aerial view of the Bronze Age roundhouse

Revisiting the Chauteau de Mayenne

To celebrate the Fête National Française (or Bastille Day), we look back at an exceptional #OAat50 project in France, the excavations at the Chateau de Mayenne.

View of the basement of the Chateau de Mayenne with vaults and remains of ealry medieval wall

A once-in-a-lifetime find

To kick off the Festival of Archaeology with our #OAat50 highlight, here is a beautiful memory told by Paul Spoerry, our recently-retired Cambridge office's regional manager, about a special Saxon sword from Hinxton, Cambridgeshire.

Image of a walrus ivory sword grip from the 9th or 10th century AD

The crozier from Furness Abbey

In 2010 we discovered this spectacular crozier during excavations at Furness Abbey. It is made of copper-alloy covered with a fine coat of gold; the main part of the crook is thought to date to the 12th century, but the cruder panels representing St Michael battling the devil may have been added later.

Image of the crozier found at Furness Abbey