About

This blog was set up to chart the progress of  archaeological excavations at Caistor St. Edmund, Norfolk, undertaken during the summer of 2009 under the direction of Will Bowden of the University of Nottingham. Buried beneath the quiet fields of Caistor St. Edmund lies the Roman regional capital of Venta Icenorum, one of only three such centres in the UK not overlain by modern settlement. The extent of the former town was first realised in the dry summer of 1928 when a series of extraordinary aerial photographs taken over the site revealed the street grid and buildings as parched lines in the barley crop that covered the site. Excavation began the following year, led by Donald Atkinson, who investigated a number of buildings including the forum, two temples and a bath-house. Since then no major excavation has been carried out at Caistor and many questions about the site remain unanswered. In 2005 a new research project was instigated by Will Bowden (University of Nottingham), working in partnership with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. The first stage of the new project has been to carry out geophysical survey across the whole area of the site, revealing what lies beneath the ground in unprecedented detail. In addition to the streets and buildings of the town, the survey appears to show traces of extensive pre-Roman occupation. It is these features that have become the focus of the 2009 excavations at Caistor, aimed at establishing the existence of a major pre-Roman settlement. The new excavations are being conducted at two locations in the field to the south of the walled town and regular updates will be posted here!