Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Extract from Norfolk Historic Environment Record © Norfolk County Council

Extract from Norfolk Historic Environment Record © Norfolk County Council

Revealing Records

On the 24th January, 18 of us gathered at Gressenhall Workhouse & Farm for "Revealing Records", a BNG project discovering the archeology of the Brecks.

The presentation was given by Claire & Heather from the Norfolk Historic Environment Service & began, after coffee, with an introduction to the Norfolk Historic Environment Record. Heather gave an overview Norfolk's Heritage Archive - a record of all areas of known archeological activity sites in the county.  This includes finds, crop marks, earthworks, industrial remains, defensive structures and historic buildings.

Over 20,000 objects & coins are recorded as found in Norfolk every year, a few by me.

Next Claire shared with us some of the over 85, 000 photos of Norfolk held in the Norfolk Air Photo Library. These covered a huge variety of images from crop markings left by Roman buildings to aerial photos of Norwich taken by the Royal Flying Corps (1915-17). I was amazed to see how much Norwich has grown since then, it really was all fields round there back in 1917.

Up to the NHES library to see what is available in the Secondary Files. Heather had printed off a map of Santon Warren with Finds marked by a reference number. Each number led to secondary file with details of the lucky, sharp-eyed person who had recognised & picked up a Mesolithic axe head, for example. Fascinating stuff, especially for me who regularly walks in Santon Warren but has yet to find a Mesolithic axe head.

More coffee was followed by a demonstration of how to access the Norfolk Heritage Explorer from home. A clear, understandable lesson in accessing NHES resources from your own sofa. The website, is so user friendly that I spent several hours that evening absorbed in discovering the archeological finds that had been recorded in my patch of the Brecks. Happy cries of "A Viking burial! Where I walk the dog!" .

The following week I walked around a Bronze Age Barrow that I had passed many times but never before discerned in the bracken.

Future classes will cover "Investigating Historic Buildings" & "Fieldwalking". I'm hoping the latter will give me a greater chance of finding a Mesolithic axe head. 


Martina North, workshop participant and BNG Volunteer


Revealing Records was the first in a programme of archeaological training programmes.  Interest was so high that the event was fully booked, and a second workshop was added to the programme.  The Second Norfolk based Revealing Records workshop will be on Saturday the 28th March - click here for more details.  A Suffolk based Revealing Reocrds workshop will be held on Saturday 28th February -   Click here for more details.

Click here to find out more about this project - Discovering the Archeaological Landscape of The Brecks Training Programme.

"It was great - I loved it"