Plans have been announced to explore Paisley’s medieval Abbey Drain to discover its hidden treasures.
The team of experts will undertake an underground mission this summer to solve a centuries-old mystery on what is said to be the biggest exploration of Paisley’s Abbey Drain.
Paisley Abbey Drain is an ornate underground passageway that is around 100m long and is believed to be more than 700 years old. It was first discovered in the 19th century and later rediscovered in the 1990s.
A group of archaeologists will excavate an area next to the Paisley Abbey to carry out their research.
The venture hopes to turn the drain into a bigger visitor attraction for the future.
The underground structure was probably used to carry material from the 850- year-old Abbey to the River Cart, but it was never established how and where it met the river.
Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s Abbey Drain is a hidden treasure and people are rightly fascinated by it- so we are delighted to be able to run a project which will engage the community and bring the stories of the Abbey Drain to life for residents and visitors.”
The project is set to run for two months from May until July and will be managed by Renfrewshire Council.
The initiative will include an extensive programme of activities to get members of the local community involved.
Previous archaeological digs have revealed carved slates that featured the earliest-written polyphonic music and the largest collection of medieval pottery that was ever found in Scotland.
Guard Archaeology will run the big dig along with volunteers from Renfrewshire Local History Forum.
Acting Head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland, Riona McMorrow said: “It’s incredibly exciting to think that the Big Dig might uncover the long-held mysteries of Paisley’s Abbey Drain.
“It is thanks to National Lottery players that we have been able to help fund this innovative programme of activities which will nurture and build the community groups interested in improving Paisley through their heritage.”
The drain won’t be accessible to the public during the dig, but residents and visitors will get the opportunity to go inside, as done in previous years, during the Doors Open Day in September.