Mark swapping towel for trowel to 'dig' Spain

A DROMARA student will this month see a side of Spain hidden to other visitors when he joins an international team excavating a burial ground dating to the 5th Century BC.

Mark McCorry will be forsaking the beqach towel for the trowel to spend a month with a group of Spanish archaeologists and international students unearthing an Iron Age/Celtic necropolis at the settlement of Pintia in Valladolid, central Spain.

An Archaeology and Paleoecology student at Queen’s University Belfast, Mark will help with the excavation and mapping of the site, in addition to extracting and cataloguing artefacts.

He is taking part in the dig under the auspices of ArchaeoSpain, an educational archaeological organization based in Connecticut and Madrid. “Mark and the other program participants will be learning about archaeology,” said ArchaeoSpain director Mike Elkin, “while at the same time contributing to important research projects.

“Our joint Spanish-international crews have uncovered priceless information about Spain’s ancient past.”


Founded in 2000, as a non-profit organisation, by a group of cultural resource specialists, ArchaeoSpain offers people from all over the world the chance to engage in important archaeological projects in Spain while learning and practising archaeology with trained investigators.

Since ArchaeoSpain’s creation students from 11 countries and over 100 universities have participated. Its teams, typically consisting of six to 10 participants from around the world who join local crews of 10 to 20 people, have assisted in major discoveries at various sites in Spain.

At Clunia teams are excavating the remains of a 9,000-seat Roman theatre and a mansion in the former Roman city, while in Pollentia on the island of Mallorca, a high-school group (part of one of the few archaeological programs for high school students in the world) is uncovering sections of that Roman city’s Forum.

At the Pintia site in the past few years archaeologists have uncovered around 100 burials, most of them warriors, featuring a bounty of war-related artefacts.

Research is helping investigators to better understand the social organisation of pre-Roman peoples.