Norfolk Archaeological Trust has a strong and supportive volunteer team, and in the past year we have been working on expanding the opportunities on offer, to be as inclusive as possible.  This includes greater flexibility in volunteering, and virtual (homebased) roles.  Here, Social Media Content Creator Sarah explains what drew her to join the team.

“In 2017 I had a brain haemorrhage and while I am very lucky in that I am mostly recovered it was a terrifying experience. As well as the pain and fear I also found myself unable to read – and as someone who has been a bookworm since I was about 4 years old, and as someone who has worked in the book world for 20+ years this was very hard to cope with. I was lucky in that I hadn’t actually lost the ability to read just the concentration to remember what had happened from one line to the next. Slowly the headache receded, and my concentration returned but it took quite a long time before I was able to read novels again.

The first full length book I read was called Meet at the Museum by Anne Youngson, this was suggested to me as it is all written in letters and each one was like a miniature story meaning I didn’t have large chunks of plot or back story to contend with. Another hook is that the book is set in East Anglia and Denmark and has archaeology as the linking thread between the two settings. I was astounded when very early on in the plot Tina, the British letter writer, makes a trip to Warham Camp in North Norfolk as it is a location I had previously visited and read about. Once she had been there however it recommended that she visits Fiddler’s Hill and I’d not heard of this before:

“I carried on down the lanes to Fiddler’s Hill Barrow, which was an earthy mound as predicted. Marion had told me the site could have origins dating back to before the Iron Age, and the barrow would have been used to bury the dead, or the ashes of cremated bodies, for centuries after that”. (…)

The woman whose house I was parked beside was serving behind the bar. She asked if I had found the Camp and if I had gone on to Fiddler’s Hill. Yes, I said, and yes. She apologised for having sent me to the barrow, “After you’d gone, I remember it could hardly be called a pretty spot, even in winter. The council has planted an orchard of ancient varieties of apple trees there, but they’re just bare branches at this time of year.’”

The chapter continues with the local lady sharing some of the fascinating stories linked to the location and which you can read on the Norfolk Archaelogical Trust website here: https://www.norfarchtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Fiddlers-Hill-Guide.pdf

As this wasn’t a place I’d heard about I turned to the internet and found out more about the site and thus the Norfolk Archaelogical Trust, and when I was further on in my recovery we actually visited the site which was beautiful – we were there just as the heritage apple trees were in blossom!

During the pandemic I realised that I wanted to find a volunteering role once restrictions were over, but one that would be mostly home based. As I started to think about this seriously and to look around for ideas, a Facebook post from NAT popped up in my feed and it seemed that once more NAT was in the right place at the right time! I’ve only been volunteering for a few months but I love my role and feel I have already made new friends – even if it is all ‘virtual’ at the moment.

If you aren’t sure about volunteering for any reason then I really do recommend it learning new skills and facts for the role is good for my ongoing recovery, and there is also the mental health boost from talking with different people. Getting out and about to visit the sites I’m less familiar with is another plus point!

If you are interested in reading Meet Me At the Museum then it is published by Transworld and there are more details here: tinyurl.com/3tncxp99