The Finnish Cultural Foundation is launching a new Dig It! archaeology initiative. The initiative will provide Finnish school students with opportunities to get involved in archaeological projects in their own local area. Archaeological activities are ideally suited for phenomenon based learning as set out in the Finnish curriculum as well as learning outside the classroom.

Public archaeological excavations aimed at adults are often extremely popular, yet few opportunities exist for school students to get involved in similar projects.

“We hope that the Dig It! project will help to promote children and young people’s interest in scientific research methods, their own local heritage and history in general,” commented Antti Arjava, Secretary General of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation has announced the launch of a new Dig It! grant, available to archaeologists, working groups run by archaeologists and registered cultural heritage organisations, including museums and archaeological societies. The value of individual grants can range from EUR 5,000 to EUR 30,000 and will be offered to 5–10 projects each year.

Eligible projects must provide the participants with an introduction to archaeology as well as opportunities for them to prepare for the research element of the project in advance. It is envisaged that the period of active research will take approximately one week, but each project may comprise several research elements, involving several groups of school students. The archaeological research element can feature a variety of methods, including excavation and surface surveys on agricultural land.

“In Finland, artefacts from the 17th to the 19th centuries can commonly be discovered on land that historically has been used for agricultural purposes, and these items can have significant educational and local historical value. Even more recent signs of human life and activity can prove fascinating, particularly when they are directly relevant to the young participants’ own local environment,” Arjava said.

Funding recipients are expected to evaluate the research findings and outcomes together with the project participants and to publish the results on the project’s own website or via social media.

Applications can be submitted using the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s online application service from 15 to 30 November 2017. The successful projects will be announced in January 2018.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation is organising a free seminar on community archaeology on Friday 29 September, 12:30–16:00, at Helsinki University’s Porthania building. The event is open for all but will be particularly useful for those in the process of devising a project plan. Speaking at the seminar are international experts on community archaeology: Suzie Thomas from the University of Helsinki, Dr. Don Henson from the University of York (United Kingdom) and Charlotte Paulsen, Curator, Skanderborg Museum (Denmark). The seminar will be held in English.

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