Digging Deep in History

Test Pits at True's Yard

The True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum is modelled around some of the fishermen's houses that survived the slum clearances of the early 20th century. While our society had carried out excavations to the South of Lynn, in the affluent merchant and church land, we had not explored the working class areas to the North of the town close to the historic fishing port. True's Yard was an ideal spot to carry out this research.

Photo of Test Pit showing Tree stump

To the North of the Yard is a small flower bed which we selected as being the best place to dig down. In the town plan of 1900 this is shown as being on the very edge of the Yard adjacent to the roadway. Because of the limited access we could only plan for one test pit to explore what lay beneath.

On starting off we found that the verdant foliage from the plants concealed a rather large tree-stump in the centre of the flower border and on removing the flowers (carefully put aside to replant when we'd finished) which meant the area was even more restricted. This had to be the archaeological equivalent of key-hole surgery.

We dug down in 10cm layers sieving through the earth as we went and collecting any possible evidence of human activity. The day was hot and so it tended to be one digging, one sieving and one having a cold drink. During the dig we had a number of visitors to the museum who stopped to ask about what we had found and also, in one case, took part in the excavation.

It will take some time for the items found to be examined but it was a very pleasant way to spend a day and we hope it will add to our understanding what was happening in the fishing district of King's Lynn.


Some of the Bone fragments found

The first few 10cm contexts contained few items (it was raised flower bed) but as we dug lower sherds of pottery began to emerge. Initially these appeared to be the willow-ware that was so popular with the Victorians but further down we found a sherd of pottery that a visiting 'expert' pronounced as probably Tudor in origin.

About 40cm down there were a number of shells and bones, some showing evidence of butchery. We will need some expert help to attempt to date these

We are looking forward to cleaning up the items of pottery, metal, glass and lithic fragments that we found so that they can be examined and dated by experts. This will give us a much better knowledge of the history of Lynn's port area and maybe through new light on its origins and use.

Photos from the Event

Lecture Programme

The program of lectures for the next season can now be found under the 'Lectures' tab above.

Kettlewell Lane

Socially distanced visit and picnic

A successful picnic/guided visit to Kettlewell Lane and Littleport Street occurred on the first Sunday in October. But, at present no further events are organised.

WNKLAS In The News

The society has been in the local Newspapers recently in coverage of the conference to celebrate our 50year anniversary and also the presentation to John Smallwood one of the founders.

Press Article


King John's Treasure

The society's investigation of a local farm contributed to a programme made for US television as part of the Expedition Unknown series. This systematic survey of an area that was a likely route for the Royal Treasure was also the subject of a recent lecture evening.

More Information

The TV Programmes