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Digging into the past

Community Archaeology in Brundall.

Between 2015 and 2018 a series of archaeological test-pit digs were run in Brundall by Cambridge University under its community archaeology programme.

Up to 30-40 Year 9 schoolchildren from various schools in East Norfolk descended on a number of gardens bravely offered up by Brundall residents to dig metre square pits over a 2-day period to see what they could tell us about the history of our village. The children worked in groups of four in each garden dig.

They were instructed at the beginning of each session on how to dig so as to keep historical levels intact and record finds accurately. For the sake of the owners, they were then instructed on how to restore pits at the end of the session so that gardens were left intact!

On day 3 of each session the children were taken to Cambridge University to hear the results of their digs, to get a taste of university life and to begin some project work which was later assessed.

For the village, we were given details of all pottery and other types of finds so we know a little more of what our forbears in Brundall were using and where they settled.

In 2016 Carenza Lewis of “Time Team” fame, who led the digs, gave a talk for Brundall Local History Group which was exceptionally well-attended. Apart from finds in Brundall specifically, she spoke about the wider project, covering large parts of East Anglia and the evidence appearing that east Norfolk was heavily affected population-wise by the ‘Black death’ of the 14th century.

To find out more, visit the Access Cambridge Archaeology website: https://www.access.arch.cam.ac.uk/reports/norfolk/brundall.

A full record of the test pit digs has been made in the form of an album with maps, photographs and details of finds. To view this, and the finds themselves, contact Jacky Heath or Ann-Marie Simpson via enquiries@brundallvillagehistory.org.uk


Test pit dig 1

This photograph shows the start of the test pit, which is one metre square.  The spoil is taken out, washed and
recorded and retained for analysis.  The pits are dug to one metre deep, ten centimetres at a time.

Toys found at Brundall Homehardware

These toys were found in the pit in the Garden Centre at Brundall Home Hardware in Links Avenue.

Test pit dig 2

This picture shows a pit half excavated.

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