Archaeologists will make a return visit to Saint Peter's Church, Addingham, next month to excavate more of the historic churchyard.

The project follows a dig in 1990 which unearthed 80 bodies in 55 graves created between the eighth and tenth centuries, and another in 1998 when 14 Saxon bodies were found.

The evidence unearthed by the dig team proved that the settlement of Addingham had a thriving Christian community in the dark ages.

Addingham is the earliest documented settlement in the Bradford district and records show that an Archbishop Wulfhere fled to the settlement in 867 to escape Viking attacks on York. The church is medieval but the burial ground was previously in an oval-shape, suggesting an earlier origin.

The present day church community is running a project, called Revealing the hidden history of Saint Peter's Church, designed to investigate the heritage and worship of the site.

Alterations and extensions to Saint Peter's Church Hall have led to further digs on the site to make sure important archaeological remains are not destroyed.

Martin Lightfoot, a senior project manager with the West Yorkshire Archaeological Service, will be in charge of the dig. He said that only a small area of land would be involved, extending the area examined in previous digs.

He said that Saxon graves in other areas had included personal items, such as mirrors and daggers, but at the Addingham site, nothing similar had been discovered. It is thought that there may be more bodies lying under the land to be excavated. Diggers will use metal detectors in the hope of unearthing an exciting find.

Mr Lightfoot said: "No grave goods have been found at the site but we will still be on the lookout for goods of this kind."

Funding for the project has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the church plans to use it to hold various events leading up to its culmination in September next year.

The church is planning a weekend of activities including a children's play, a Saxon feast and a service dedicated to the bodies which will be re-buried. Also planned is the carving of a stone memorial to the early Addingham Christians set in the walls of the new church office which will be built on the land which the archaeologists have examined.

Alongside the many project, on Saturday, November 3, from 9.30am to 1.30pm, Derek Law will be holding a workshop exploring the medieval art of illuminated manuscripts and the monastic scriptorium tradition at Saint Peter's Church Hall. To book a place should call Miss Worsnop on 01943 830865.