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Downpatrick Young Archaeologists Launch Digging Our Faith Book
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Down County Museum has launched a new PEACE III-funded book Digging Our Faith: Exploring Our Religious Heritage on Saturday 6 December 2013. 

Members of the Downpatrick Young Archaeologists Club launch the Digging Our Faith booklet at Down County Museum. Included are leaders Moira O'Rourke, Richard Leathem and Bronagh Totten with Mike King, Museum Curator.

Members of the Downpatrick Young Archaeologists Club launch the Digging Our Faith booklet at Down County Museum. Included are leaders Moira O’Rourke, Richard Leathem and Bronagh Totten with Mike King, Museum Curator.

During the course of the museum’s community history project, members of the Downpatrick branch of the Young Archaeologist’s Club (YAC), produced this publication which is now available, free of charge, for members of the public. The publication complements the exhibition of the same title which was launched at the museum in October.

The Young Archaeologists’ Group has spent a year exploring issues around religion and cultural identity. They visited many places of worship from different faiths both relevant to the past and to Northern Ireland today. This book is the result of their learning and hard work. The young people have gained a great deal from their involvement with this project.

Mike King, Down County Down Museum Curator, said: “We had hoped that on Saturday past that the young archgaeologists would be enjoying a dig around the base of the High Cross on front of Down Cathedral today.

YAC members Jacob Morrow and Katie McCormick  look over the head of the High Cross stored at Down Country Museum.

YAC members Jacob Morrow and Katie McCormick look over the head of the High Cross stored at Down Country Museum.

“However, the head of the cross has been removed and stored in the museum, but the remaining vertical pillar will take a bit more time to dismantle because the Victorian builders did such a good job in cementing the stones together. The cement will have to be carefully drilled out to separate the stones for storage.

“Today they are launching their  excellent ‘Digging Our Faith’ project book which reflects the wide range of work that they have touched on during the past year. They will eventually get digging around the area of where the High Cross was located.

“We understand Joseph Biggar, the antiquarian who built the High Cross on the site at the church, had placed a time capsule there and it could be in a glass case. This will be a very exciting find for the YAC.”

The book and accompanying exhibition is part of the museum’s community history project that was awarded over £224,000 of PEACE III funding from the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered by the North Down, Ards and Down Councils’ Cluster.

The project aims to deliver a range of activities related to the Building Positive Relations theme of the North Down, Ards and Down Cluster’s PEACE Plan and contribute to addressing sectarianism and racism by promoting shared and integrated communities through community animation programmes.