Brundall Local
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  Brundall digs: conclusion to the full report

Access Cambridge Archaeology

Archaeological test pit excavations in Brundall, Norfolk, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Catherine Collins, 2019

 Map of Brundall digs

To read the full report, with information about all the individual pits numbered on the map above, click here to download the pdf file.

The 46 archaeological test pits excavated in Brundall between 2015 and 2018 have yielded archaeological evidence for settlement in the parish dating from the Late Bronze Age through to the modern day.

The earliest evidence for activity in Brundall likely dates to the Bronze Age, although some of the finds may also be Neolithic.

Several sherds of Late Bronze Age pottery were excavated from four of the 46 test pits; three of these were at the south end of Chancel Close. This is an area of higher ground, overlooking the River Yare, and with the presence of a multiple burnt stone also recorded from these test pits, it is likely that there was activity here during the Bronze Age. One test pit in the east of the village also recorded a single small sherd of Late Bronze Age pot. This test pit is also just to the south of a probable Bronze Age Barrow to the east of Blofield Road.

The test pitting results do suggest a much more extensive spread of later prehistoric activity than has previously been recorded, with more evidence likely still to be found under the village.

Iron Age activity was limited to a single small sherd of pottery excavated along Blofield Road, and is potentially the first material evidence of this date to be identified from Brundall parish.

A total of four test pits found limited evidence for Romano-British activity in Brundall, including a test pit at either end of the village along Postwick Lane and St Michaels Way. Two test pits in the area around the church on Chancel Close also yielded sherds of Roman pot, and these are the closest Roman material from the test pitting to be found near to the site of a Roman building identified during 19th century excavations at Brundall Gardens. The material associated with this building was extensive and hints that the area close to this saw widespread Romano-British activity, whereas the test pitting only produced limited evidence for additional Romano-British activity elsewhere in Brundall.

The identified Anglo-Saxon activity in Brundall was limited to just one test pit, excavated at Chancel Close and just to the south of the current church, with one sherd of Early Anglo-Saxon hand-made pottery and three sherds of Late Anglo-Saxon Thetford Ware. Some evidence for Anglo-Saxon activity has already been found in the parish, the most significant of which was the discovery of Early Anglo-Saxon cremation urns, likely part of a cemetery, found to the immediate west of Brundall Gardens. It was thought the single sherd of Early Saxon pottery may also have derived from a cremation urn and could hint at the presence of another cemetery here, and so potentially there is evidence, albeit limited, for Early Anglo-Saxon activity either side of the once large area of Roman settlement.

It may have been that this area around St Lawrence’s church was the original core of the village and was why the nearby location of the church was chosen during the 13th century.

The evidence for high medieval activity in Brundall was found to be quite dispersed, with 11 test pits yielding pottery of this date. A prevalence of material was recorded through the ‘central’ area of Brundall, along The Street, which may hint at the earliest origins of the village in this area.

Test pitting results suggest that the settlement appears to have been quite severely affected by the socio-economic factors of the 14th century, including the Black Death. It is highly likely that the village experienced a contraction or significant shift in the settlement layout.

Brundall later recovered as a settlement and continued to expand along the linear formation of the village, as seen today, with 26 of the 46 test pits producing pottery of a post medieval date and 40 of the test pits yielding pottery of a 19th century and later date.

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