Caistor archaeology needs a financial backer

From the Evening News

Calls are being made for businesses and individuals across Norfolk to help support one of the country’s most important Roman archaeological sites.

The Roman town of Caistor St Edmund was once Norfolk’s capital and is one of only a few Roman towns in Britain not to be built over.

But more than £70,000 is needed to carry out excavation work on the historical site which covers more than 120 acres to the south of Norwich.

The work would help people discover more about the site which is one of just three undisturbed Roman towns in the country.

Dr Will Bowden, a lecturer in archaeology from Nottingham University, is leading the excavation project.

He said: “We have done a lot of the preliminary geophysical survey work which means we have been able to search without digging to see what lies underneath.

“This is one of the country’s greatest Roman sites but we have also discovered hints of circular structures underneath so there is a chance there was an iron age settlement underneath the Roman town.

“This is extremely interesting but we now need to use the best technology to dig the site but still leave it relatively undiscovered and unharmed.”

Dr Bowden said it was important that this work was carried out to give people in Norfolk the chance to understand the history of the county.

He said: “We now have evidence of a much longer occupation of this site. Caistor is really important because activities continued here until the 19th century when Norwich was created.

“For people to understand the infrastructure and history of Norwich they need to understand what preceded the city and there are a lot of interesting stories to tell.

“It would be great if anyone would like to help fund this high quality excavation and help us discover more about Norfolk’s history.”

As well as funding the ongoing excavation work also relies on volunteers. The first Caistor excavations in 1929 were paid for wholly by public subscription and although funds are needed from sponsors it is hoped people of Norfolk will also help fund the modern research on the site.

The project has already raised almost £60,000 and has already generated world-wide publicity through the extraordinary results of the geophysical survey.

A further £70,000 is sought to fund trial excavations at the site.

The Caistor Roman Town Project is directed by Dr Bowden, working in partnership with South Norfolk Council, the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service.

To get involved in the project email Will.bowden@nottingham.ac.uk or log onto http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/venta

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