Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dig will get under the surface of Norfolk’s Roman past

Archaeologists investigating around the site of the Roman town at Caistor St Edmund broke ground on a three-week dig on Saturday.

The team will be digging in two trenches outside the town walls of Venta Icenorum, hoping to uncover more of the historical secrets hidden just 18 inches down in fields to the south and east of the town.

Dr Will Bowden, of the University of Nottingham, who is leading the team, said the dig could reveal how the site was inhabited after the Roman period, following on from discoveries of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries nearby.

"We could find evidence of the Anglo-Saxon occupation, and what happened once the Roman town went out of use," he said.

"We know where the people were when they were dead, but we don't know where they were when they were alive."

The settlement could include sunken-feature buildings of the kind seen at West Stow near Bury St Edmunds, though the team will not know until they get into the trench.

Trench sites were selected based on aerial photographs and geophysical surveys of the fields, and the weekend's work began with preparing the site after the removal of topsoil, and the initial cleaning of the trench.

The dig is open to the public, and an exhibition has been set up by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, which owns the site, a scheduled ancient monument.