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Excavations open to the public at Caistor St Edmund Roman town, near Norwich, this weekend

Previous Caistor St Edmund Roman dig:  Photo: Jerry Daws

Previous Caistor St Edmund Roman dig: Photo: Jerry Daws

©Archant Photographic 2010

Excavations at the Roman town of Venta Icenorum, Caistor St Edmund, near Norwich, will be open to the public this weekend.

They will be led by Dr Will Bowden, Associate Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, and follow the successful 2010 season, which was filmed for a BBC Time Team special.

Starting this Saturday , Dr Bowden and his team will be excavating parts of the Roman forum that was first discovered during the 1929-35 excavations.

They hope to find out when the forum was built and what happened to it in the later Roman period.

The 1930s excavators thought that it was destroyed by fire and lay in ruins for around 100 years before being rebuilt. The new excavations will look for further evidence of this blaze.

The team will also be digging in the north-west of the town, looking for signs of what happened at Caistor after the Roman period and trying to find out whether the walled town was occupied during the AngloSaxon period, before it was eventually overshadowed by the rise of Norwich.

South Norfolk Councillor Laura Webster, who sits on the influential Caistor Roman Town Joint Advisory Board said: “We are looking forward to this new and exciting excavation at Caistor. It will unveil more about our fascinating local history and importantly give families the chance to learn about our region’s extraordinary past.

“There are family events being organised for this summer as well as free tours, and I urge everyone who has a chance to go along.

“We remain committed to protecting and exploring this ancient site, one of the most significant in Britain, and ensuring the wider community benefits from the amazing work going on there.”

The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and managed in partnership with South Norfolk Council.

In addition the project will be running two family activity days on August 21 and 28, in association with BBC Hands on History – Dig! (bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory).

Funding for the new project has been raised partly through the University of Nottingham and partly through Caistor Roman Project Ltd, a charitable company set up to help the work.

The excavations are open to the public seven days a week from August 13 until September 3.

For other information on the season and the project see www.caistorromanproject.com.

You can follow the excavation blog at http://caistordig2011.wordpress.com/ or keep updated on Twitter by following @willbowden1 or #Caistor).

Have you organised an event celebrating Norwich’s history? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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