Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Sunday, 23 August 2009 14:43 UK

Dig will unearth history of abbey

Archaeologists have won a £48,000 Heritage Lottery grant to carry out an extensive dig at a Cumbrian abbey.

Holm Cultram Abbey in Abbeytown was the largest monastic house in Cumbria and founded by Cistercian monks in 1150.

Members of West Cumbria Archaeological Society will use the cash to search for abbey foundations in a nearby field.

The investigation of the size and layout of the site is hoped to result in the production of a plan of the entire monastic complex.

The parish church is all that remains of the original complex of buildings.

A geophysical survey by the society in 2006 suggested foundations for these could be found in the field to the south of the church.

Sara Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: "Through this project, the society is giving the local community a wonderful opportunity to get involved in investigating the Holm Cultrum Abbey site.

"Volunteers will work alongside professional archaeologists on every aspect of the excavation, including taking guided tours and producing an exhibition about the site."

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