Workmen unearth six skeletons during city street overhaul

Workmen undertaking the £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland. 

Workmen undertaking the £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Work on a multi-million regeneration scheme in the centre of Norwich has unearthed the remains of six people. 

Excavations as part of changes to improve the Tombland public space and boost walking and cycling links saw workers uncover a skull.

Archaeologists overseeing the work at the historical site were alerted to the gruesome find  and further work has since uncovered a total of six skeletons. 

Police were informed about the discovery and all remains are in the process of being recorded and removed. This work is expected to have been completed by Friday evening.

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: “Excavations being carried out as part of the current Tombland improvement works uncovered a skull on Tuesday afternoon.


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“Given the historical significance of the area archaeologists are already present on site for all works of this nature.

“Construction has been able to resume and archaeologists will continue to be present for any further excavation works required.”

The £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland has seen six skeletons unearthed.

The £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland has seen six skeletons unearthed. - Credit: Simon Parkin

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Tombland was once the main market area of Norwich, before the Normans established a new market area by the castle.

Though its evocative name suggests a place where burials occurred, Tombland in fact comes from an Old English word derived from Danish meaning 'empty space'.

The council spokesman added: “The date of the skeletons has not yet been determined and further analysis will need to be carried out but a full archaeological report will be published on the city council’s website on completion of works in line with planning policy.

“Given the current situation with the pandemic members of the public are asked not to visit the area to ensure site safety.”

Work on the £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland.

Work on the £2.5m regeneration scheme in Tombland. - Credit: Simon Parkin

The £2.5m regeneration scheme centres on the eastern side of Tombland and follows the demolition of the disused toilet block.

The work to better connect Tombland the railway station, Magdalen Street and Norwich Lanes and boost access to public transport is being funded with £2.5m from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund.

The St Ethelbert’s Gate entrance to Cathedral Close, which dates from c1316 and was built to replace an earlier gate burnt down during riots in 1272, is currently closed as part of the work with new cobbles being laid. 

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