Villagers living in the shadow of a Roman settlement are set to discover new links to the past as archaeologists begin to dig up their gardens.
Evidence has revealed the town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund, near Norwich, extends “substantially” beyond the current archaeological site.
Over the weekend, experts are digging test pits to determine the extent of Roman occupation in the area.
It is hoped the work will reveal more about life there before the Romans.
Dr Will Bowden, from the University of Nottingham, which is working with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, has specialised in the site for the last eight years. Read more.
Archaeologists have spent the last two summers at the site of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund, with Channel 4’s Time Team filming them for a TV special last year.
The archaeologists returned at the weekend for another three week of digging, this time excavating parts of the Roman forum.
Led by Dr Will Bowden, associate professor of Roman archaeology at the University of Nottingham, the team hope to find out when the forum was built and what happened to it in the later Roman period.
Parts of the site were originally excavated between 1929 and 1935 following the publication of dramatic aerial photographs showing evidence of streets and public buildings, which made national newspaper headlines.
Those who studied the site in 1929-35, thought the Roman forum had been destroyed by fire and lay in ruins for around a hundred years before it was rebuilt.
The team carrying out the new excavations are looking for evidence of that blaze and are also digging in the north west of the town. Read more.
The future of an internationally important Roman town buried in an area of Norfolk has been secured thanks to a huge funding boost.
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has announced it will be giving £374,000 to the Norfolk Archaeological Trust (NAT) to purchase part of Venta Icenorum which lies beneath fields at Caistor St Edmund.
The Roman town – one of only three Roman regional centres in Britain that remains not built over – was at high risk of permanent damage as a result of farming and unauthorised metal detecting. It has been saved thanks to the NHMF grant and support from other organisations. As well as the NHMF grant, English Heritage has contributed £40,000, South Norfolk Council has provided £20,000, and the rest of the money needed came from NAT’s own resources. Read more.