The Big Dig 2019

The Big Dig 2019 is an eight-week archaeological dig which hopes to uncover the mystery of the underground treasure that is Paisley's medieval Abbey Drain!

The Big Dig 2019

About The Big Dig 2019

The Big Dig 2019 is an eight-week archaeological dig (May 21 – July 21) trying to find out if, how and where this unique structure once met the River Cart.

The findings will shape potential future development of this hidden gem as part of the wider regeneration of Paisley town centre.

Paisley’s Abbey Drain is an ornate underground passageway, around 100m long and believed to be more than 700 years old, which was discovered in the 19th century and rediscovered in the 1990s.

The intricate underground structure is believed to have carried material from Paisley’s 850-year-old Abbey to the nearby River Cart – but no one has ever established where and how it met the river.

Previous archaeological digs have revealed carved slates featuring the earliest written polyphonic music – and largest collection of medieval pottery – ever found in Scotland.

Community activity planned for during the Big Dig will include a series of short films and a documentary made by students from the University of the West of Scotland, school visits, volunteering opportunities, and free talks and workshops for the general public.

We’ll have more details about these activities soon … watch this space!

The drain itself won’t be accessible to the public during the dig – but there will be a chance for you to go inside it, as in previous years, during Doors Open Days in September.

Funding partners for The Big Dig 2019 include The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Local History Forum.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for The Big Dig 2019 are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.

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40 years since Aled was a choirboy at Bangor Cathedral, he bring his special concert of music and stories to cathedrals throughout the UK including a night at Paisley Abbey!
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