Time Team in Norfolk - Visit

Phil Harding explains the Geophysics to WNKLAS members

Society members were invited to attend the Time Team excavations in Brancaster this August. Unfortunately WNKLAS was asked not to publicise the event as although the the TT crew wanted to involve local societies they felt unable to provide sufficient resource to manage a large public presence. The excavations focused on Branodunum, the Roman Fort near Brancaster, which is owned and managed by the National Trust. The Fort is somewhat unusual as it is larger than normal and also the surrounding Vicus (civilian settlements commonly surrounding the military fort) were not planned to the same axis as the fort itself suggesting that they may have predated it.

I have to say that we received a very warm welcome from both the National Trust and the Time Team crew. Both were enthusiastic about the project and for the opportunity in finding answers to a number of questions about the site. Branodunem is one of the larger Norfolk coastal forts and has been largely untouched over the centuries, and so there were high hopes of developing our understanding of the area. That said, the area of the fort and part of the Vicas had been a convenient source of stone for the locals and the Vicas to the East had been deep-ploughed so some of the team were cautious about expecting too much.

Time Team have only three days on site but had made amazing progress by the time we arrived. Two trenches had been dug to explore the surrounding settlements while three trenches explored a number of major features in the military fort.

A member of WNKLAS detects for metal at the fort

At the start the Time Team crew had the aerial photos of the site which showed some interesting crop marks, and an initial geophysical survey which showed some of the fort features might have survived. The trenches were planned to investigate both the Fort building and also to look at the surrounding settlements to see if there was any evidence of it predating the Roman presence. The area itself didn't have much on the surface to indicate what might remain of the fort and if it would yield any information on why the fort had been constructed here. One of the theories, originating from the two axis of building, suggested that the fort had been placed to dominate an existing Iron Age settlement. As with most archaeology, the most interesting part will be the interpretation of the results. Was the excavation able to answer this question? You will have to watch the program to find out!

The finds from the site and as of mid-day on the final day were profuse and very interesting. As expected there was a lot of Roman pottery and tiles, copious animal bones (and a think at least one human bone) plus a number of coins and metal objects which had been discovered with the help of Detectorists from the society.

The program is due to air in Spring 2013 and the episode on Brancaster is definitely in the Unmissable category.

Other reports on the Time Team visit to Norfolk

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