Community Archaeology in Norfolk

My name is Claire Bradshaw and I am a Community Archaeologist at Norfolk Historic Environment Service, which is part of Norfolk County Council.  The Historic Environment Service exists to record, protect and manage the archaeology of Norfolk, and my job is to get members of the public involved in this process.

I have been in the post for just over a month, having worked here on a Council for British Archaeology training placement since October. June and July are the busiest months for community archaeology in Norfolk so things have been very hectic since I started.

My work so far has involved planning community test pitting projects; giving talks to local groups and schools; promoting our services at the Norfolk Show; supervising work experience students and organising an Archaeology Day at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, as part of the Festival of Archaeology.

Yesterday morning I gave a talk to the Sheringham and District Society at their monthly meeting, on the archaeology of the North Norfolk coast. I was quite nervous about this as the talk was arranged by my predecessor, who managed the Norfolk Coastal Heritage project, and co-authored a book about Happisburgh!

Fortunately for me Norfolk’s coast has some excellent archaeology, from the earliest evidence of human occupation in northern Europe at Happisburgh right the way through to the World War II anti-tank cubes in Sheringham, and even better, all of these sites are recorded in the Historic Environment Record, which contains information on over 60000 archaeological and historic sites from around Norfolk. This record can be accessed online at

I was also greatly helped by the work my colleagues have been doing since 2001 on the National Mapping Programme. This is an English Heritage project to identify and map archaeological features using aerial photographs. The report on The Archaeology of Norfolk’s Coastal Zone (which you can read here: ) enabled me to easily identify some of the more interesting archaeology in the area, and which of our 85000 aerial photographs would be most useful in my talk. My favourite is one taken of Warham Camp (NHER 1828) by Derek Edwards.

After answering several interesting questions and agreeing to host the group at Gressenhall so they can visit our archives, I popped over to Binham to support the local history group in their second day of investigations at the village hall.

The Roman Binham project has been running for four years, during which time they have excavated in nearly every garden in the village. Their main aim is to find evidence of the possible Roman villa which is said to be under the village hall, and although they have found large quantities of Roman pottery, and part of a wall, we have not yet managed to find conclusive evidence.

This year’s project was part of the Festival of British Archaeology, and as well as all of the enthusiastic local diggers, we had excavators coming to join us from as far away as France!

In true Time Team fashion the find of the project came at 3.15 yesterday afternoon, when Alan straightened up his section only to find a large beautifully decorated rim sherd which had been hidden by lumps of flint.

To find out more about Binham Local History Group and find out where the project will be heading next take a look at their website

After all the hard work yesterday, I spent today tidying up my inbox (and desk!) preparing to go on holiday next week.

Look out for posts from my colleagues to find out what the rest of our service does.