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

Tour of Historic Hardwick Cemetery (Sunday 11th June 2017)

Dr Paul Richards will be conducting a tour called 'Mariners, Merchants and Industrialists' at Hardwick Cemetery starting at the gates at 2pm (Charge £4).

More Information

St Martha's Test Pits (Sunday 25th June 2017: 11am)

Archaeology demonstration at St Martha's Roman Catholic Primary School Summer Fete. The location is off Roseberry Avenue, Field Lane, Gaywood.

Binham History Group(Friday 23rd June to Sunday 25 June 2017: 9am start)

Investigation of an area identified by GeoPhysics and fieldwalking. Test pitsbeing dug over three days, all welcome.

Historic Pubs of Lynn (Friday 23rd June 2017)

Dr Paul Richards will be conducting a tour called 'Historic Pubs in Lynn' starting at True's Yard 6pm (Charge £5).

More Information

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know? (28th July 2017)

A public illustrated lecture to be held at St. Margaret's Minister, 4:30pm, by Dr. Laura Kalas Williams, Research Associate and Tutor, Department of English, the University Exeter.

Margery Kempe's boisterous mysticism and medicine: uncovered!. Tickets available from True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum £5


More Information

Society Conference (25th November 2017)

Will be held at Marriott's Warehouse Trust, South Quay, King's Lynn, 10:00-17:00, Saturday 25th November. The subject is 'Women in the Archaeology and History of West Norfolk: Female Voices Across Time'. Places are free but limited and may be booked from True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum