Twelve test pits were dug in Garboldisham in 2011, half of them north of the main road and the other half to its south. GAR/11/05, immediately east of the existing church revealed a compacted surface composed mostly of broken brick, which was interpreted as the remains of a yard or green or a route-way past the church. Overall, the distribution of pottery from the excavated pits showed some distinctive and interesting patterns. Pottery pre-dating the mid 11th century AD was found exclusively in the area north of the present main road. This included one small sherd of Bronze Age pottery from GAR/11/03 (c. 150m north of All Saints Church), from a layer which also included a sherd of Thetford Ware but no later material. Three small sherds of Roman pottery were recovered, two from GAR/11/04 and one from GAR/11/11, both pits located in the area between All Saints church and the A1066. The significance of such a small amount of Roman pottery is difficult to assess without further excavation, but it is enough to suggest that the area was in some sort of use in the Roman period, although at present this certainly does not seem likely to have been characterised by a settlement of any size.
Test pit GAR/11/03 produced the only evidence for early/middle Anglo-Saxon activity in the area, a single small (2g) sherd dating to 450-700 AD. Three pits (GAR/11/01, GAR/11/02 and GAR/11/04) produced a total of thirteen sherds dating to 850-1100 AD, ranging in size from 2-29g. It thus seems highly likely that this area, near All Saints Church, was inhabited at this time, with this settlement possibly growing from a pre-existing middle Anglo-Saxon nucleus. The high medieval period sees activity extend southwards, with GAR/11/04 and GAR/11/09 both producing several sherds of pottery of 12th to mid 14th century date. However, the pattern does not seem to be simply one of expansion, as the northern part of the settlement sees a marked decrease in activity, with GAR/11/01, GAR/11/02, GAR/11/03 and GAR/11/12 producing only single small sherds of this date (although the latter did also produce a fragment of a double-sided bone comb of probable high medieval date). The later medieval period also presents a mixed picture, with a decline in the volume of pottery from the southernmost pits, but an increase in two of the northerly ones.