Caistor St Edmunds, Venta Icenorum, south gate excavations, 9th September 1934.
Photo: George Plunkett Collection/Jonathan Plunkett.

About the Norfolk Archaeological Trust


NAT was founded in in 1923 by prominent local figures in the fields of archaeology and history including E.M. Beloe, Leonard Bolingbroke, W.G. Clarke, H.L Bradfer-Lawrence, Basil Cozens-Hardy and Duleep Singh. They wanted to promote field surveys, organise excavations and research, and record and preserve archaeological sites and finds. At that time British archaeology as a profession was still young. There was plenty to be done!

The acquisition and management of historic properties was a key element of NAT’s mission from the start. In the early years NAT bought important historic buildings, including Bishop Bonner’s Cottage in Dereham, the Greenland Fishery House in King’s Lynn, the Great Hall in Oak Street, Norwich and part of the precinct of Binham Priory. This last site, acquired in 1933, is still owned by us.

In the late 20th century NAT turned its attention to significant rural monuments in the county which were at risk from ploughing and neglect.

In 1984 part of Venta Icenorum, the Roman town at Caistor St Edmund, was bequeathed to NAT, and more of the site was bought in 1992.

The mysterious undated earthwork enclosure at Tasburgh was bought in 1994; and 90 acres of land at Burgh Castle, including the spectacular Roman fort, in 1995.

The focus of NAT’s work on rural sites was established, and some of the historic buildings that had long been in our care and were no longer at risk, were sold to invest in new sites at risk.

During 2002–4 NAT bought another iconic Norfolk monument – the Abbey of St Benet at Holm, in the heart of the Broads – as well as the Iron Age fort at South Creake in north Norfolk. Our ownership of land at Binham Priory was extended to include the west gatehouse and precinct wall. More recently NAT took two further sensitive sites into its care: the gatehouse and precinct of Burnham Norton Friary and a prehistoric barrow at Fiddler’s Hill, between Binham and Warham.


Natalie Butler Director

Director: Natalie Butler

Chairman: Jonathan Sisson

Council members

The role of council members is to provide strategic direction and constructive challenges to ensure NAT delivers its goals and objectives and is managed effectively.

Mr Nicholas Balaam

Mr Peter Foster

Mr Henry Kilvert

Mr Matthew Martin MBE

Dr Jo Parmenter

Professor Elizabeth Pye

Mr Andrew Rogerson

Mr Jonathan Sisson

Mr Alan Squirrell

Mr Alan Staton

Professor Owen Warnock

Director’s AGM report 2022

The transcript of the Director’s report to the AGM can be viewed here: NAT Annual Report 2022

Strategic Plan 2020-2025

NAT’s current strategy can be viewed HERE

Recent projects

NAT is grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting these projects





Help us directly with the upkeep of these important sites

NAT annual report archive