Norfolk Archaeological Trust blog

St Benet’s Abbey: 1000 years!

2019 is the 1000th year since the foundation of St Benet’s Abbey – quite an amazing thought, and well worth celebrating. The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey (TFoSBA) are taking forward an ambitious Heritage Lottery-funded project this year which will explore the long history of the Abbey through talks, drama, sculpture, painting and photography.

The bigger (and better) picture

One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is inspecting our sites, which Natasha and I do on a regular basis. 

On connecting through time and place

Looking back over the previous year, as one inevitably does in early January, the stand out event for me was definitely the village pageant at Burnham Norton Friary in late September, when the audience was immersed in the stories of the Friary.

I’ve seen that jar somewhere before…

Some of the most unexpected connections in archaeology come from a good pair of eyes and a good memory – and sharing knowledge. This was proven by the Burgh Castle Almanac group recently when they visited Norwich Castle Museum art collections. The visit was organised by project managers, the Restoration Trust, as part of the ongoing activities that focus on historic landscapes and mental wellbeing at the Fort (1).

On branding: what kind of animal..?

If you had to descibe the Trust as an animal, what would it be? Those of you who attended the AGM last month will know that this is one of the unexpected but illuminating questions our consultants have been asking us in our discussions on branding, as part of our current lottery-funded Onwards & Upwards project. 'Brand' is a word that can conjure up negative images of commercialism, in-your-face advertising and - in the virtual world of social media - a type of narcissistic self-promotion.

Introducing...

I very much enjoy the variety of work that the Director post covers at the Trust – from developing a ten-year strategy through to collecting money from the donation boxes via issuing grazing licences – and for the last four-and-a-bit years this work has consumed most of my waking hours. However, I do have another burning interest which has been simmering away on the back burner during this time, and that is writing. As a result, I am taking up a part-time place on the UEA’s Biography and Non-fiction MA on this very day, October 1.

Onwards & upwards from a farming perspective

Hello, my name is Neil Featherstone of Future Environomics and I have been appointed as part of the Onwards & Upwards project to undertake a review of the management of the 10 sites across the county that Norfolk Archaeological Trust (NAT) owns or manages.

On the typical unpredictability of summer

It’s been impossible to ignore the hot weather over the last few weeks. Even in my clay lump office shed – which is supposed to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer - it’s been sweltering. The impact on our sites has been notable – in particular, at Caistor Roman Town. The most obvious effect is visual – the dry, scorched grass of a Mediterranean savanna, as far as the eye can see across the fields and meadows, such a contrast to the snow and floods of the spring.

On learning to love heritage

I've long been interested in how we can encourage people of all ages to feel engaged with their local heritage - the vernacular architecture that surrounds us in Norfolk but is so often undervalued, the plain timber casement, flint wall, or cobbled floor surface which we hardly notice until one day they're gone. Over twenty years ago I carried out some research in schools on whether participating in activities which explored aspects of old buildings could influence the way children felt about their local heritage.

A life in archaeology

In May we held a small ceremony to celebrate the Directorship of Dr Peter Wade-Martins which included the unveiling of a new plaque on the bench at the top of Dunston Field at Caistor Roman Town. Below is the transcript of the speech given at the occasion by Peter Griffiths, Chairman of the Trust:

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