The Isle of Man may be a small and – particularly when Time Team was there – wet and windy island stuck in the middle of the Irish Sea. But it’s crammed full of influences from British, Irish and even Viking incomers. In fact, it’s been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years, including a time when Christianity vied with Norse paganism to be the island’s principal religion.
One of the legacies of this battle for dominance were the keeills – small, simple chapels that were once found scattered right across the island. Yet today, every single one of these ancient monuments has been destroyed by agriculture, built over by later medieval churches, or dug often very badly by antiquarians.
All, that is, except one which has lain protected beneath the seventh fairway of the Mount Murray golf course, marked only by a patch of unkempt grass and a single standing stone atop a small mound. Time Team was given the unique opportunity to excavate the only known untouched keeill remaining on the Isle of Man.