Much of the Trust’s day to day work focuses on the local: local history, local communities and local management. In research and interpretation of our sites we often set them in a county or East Anglian context, although our most significant sites such as Burgh Castle Fort, Caistor Roman Town and St Benet’s Abbey fit readily within familiar national narratives concerning power, religion and culture. But it is less common for us to stand back and look at our sites from a global perspective. What do our Roman sites and ruined monasteries signify to visitors from Japan, for example?
One of the main benefits of projects like ‘Imagined Land’ is the way they bring together research, resources – and people - that are out there in the community but have not necessarily been brought together in one place for exploration, discussion and connections. Last month I had the privilege of meeting up with Drs Helen Clarke and Sally Francis who both have research interests in the Friary.
Today sees the start of the Trust’s new Heritage Lottery funded project ‘Imagined Land’, which, over the next two years, will explore and celebrate two of the Trust’s sites that sit at the heart of communities: Tasburgh and Burnham Norton.
During the autumn, repair works were carried out to the banks of the River Tas at Caistor Roman Town. For me, this small project illustrates well the complexity of managing change at our archaeological sites.
It must be admitted that conferences can often be rather dry and stilted affairs - but a highlight for me in July was the conference on St Benet’s Abbey (held at the Julian Centre at the University of East Anglia) which wasn't like that at all.