ARCHAEOLOGISTS are digging up the past of Huddersfield Parish Church to make way for an exciting project.
Excavation work at the historic church has begun, marking the first phase of the Cornerstone Project.
The project was set up 18 months ago. It aims to create better all-round access and provide a welcome entrance for visitors.
But it has also enabled experts to probe into the hidden history of the site.
The dig's project manager, Louise Martin, said: "Our recent study on the history of the church's foundations suggests that the original 12th century building was extended and altered well before the construction of the current building in 1503.
"We hope to uncover any remaining evidence of this and see what other secrets we can uncover."
The local architect in charge of the project, Stuart Beaumont, said: "The new joint entrance we have designed is intended not only to make the church more accessible, but also make it more inviting.
"The fact that this project has led to archaeological evaluation that may tell us more about the history of the site is really interesting.
"It is something we are all quite excited about."
The Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Catherine Ogle, said: "Cornerstone is a response to a vision, to ensure that the parish church remains at the centre of the life of the town.
"As the parish church we are a vital link with the town's history and heritage.
"We have always been part of the life of the town and are convinced that we can play an important role in its future.
"Access is a big problem at the moment, as there are a lot of stairs to all levels of the church.
"We hope to remedy this.
"We also want to open up the church and create a more contemporary feel. This will complement perfectly the church's original design."
It is hoped that the project will provide level access via a lift to the church, cafe crypt and balcony, ensure access to all areas for visitors and better facilities to hold community and conference events.
The archaeological evaluation will take three weeks.
The work on the Cornerstone project is expected to be completed next year.
* A Parish Church has stood on the site for almost 1000 years.
* The first church was built around 1090-1100 by Walter de Laci, son of wealthy nobleman Ilbert de Laci, who owned land in the manors of Huddersfield and Almondbury.
* The church was rebuilt between 1503-06
* In 1836, the building was remodelled, with the tower made higher and a crypt constructed