Roman relics to go on show in Norwich

SAM EMANUEL Norwich Evening News

11 February 2008 07:00

A large collection of Roman artefacts is to go on public display at a city museum for the first time in the summer – 30 years after they were first dug up by an amateur archaeologist.

Almost 50 boxes of artefacts, including pots, figurines, and leather sandals, dug up at Brampton, near Aylsham, in the 1970s and 1980s have been bought by the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Service.

The find, which had been boxed up at Keith Knowles's house, will now go on display at the Norwich Castle Museum, along with Mr Knowles' field notes and excavation photographs from the time.

Dr John Davies, the museum's chief curator, said: “The settlement had been known about for a long time but this was the only time it was excavated. This collection is important because it represents all aspects of daily life over a period of 350 years. It is so large and there is some lovely stuff, but most of it represents life for ordinary people.

“It shows that the town was civilised, and there is evidence of a bath house, timber buildings and workshops and a metalworking trade. There are also religious figurines which could indicate there was a temple, although one has not been found.”

Organic material including a leather sandal and wooden boards from a Roman well was also discovered. They were preserved because the area was waterlogged from the nearby River Bure.

Dr Davies said: “This sort of thing just doesn't tend to survive.”

Brampton was the centre of a major pottery industry at the time, spanning about 15 acres, although the pottery production spanned about 75 acres, where there were as many as 130 kilns.

The pots mainly supplied the local market, but examples have been found as far away as Corbridge in Northumberland.

Funding to buy the collection of 46 boxes, which cost £8000, was given by the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, Friends of the Norwich Museums, and the Victoria & Albert Purchase Grant Fund.

The Boudicca Gallery at the museum is being reworked and the collection will be displayed in the Roman section in May or June.

For more information, please phone 01603 493625.

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