Eleven test pits were excavated in Garboldisham in 2012, bringing the total to date to twenty-three. Several pits were sited in order to investigate new areas. GAR/12/01 was located more than 1km north of the church at Hall Farm and GAR/12/07 along a track running north from Smallworth. Pits GAR/12/08 and GAR/12/09 were sited near Garboldisham Mill with GAR/12/10 and GAR/12/11 in the area where the present road south of the village runs between Garboldisham Common and Broomscot Common, c. 1200m south of the church.
GAR/12/10 produced a single very small sherd (3g) of Romano-British pottery, indicative of low-intensity activity of some sort on this area. A much larger sherd (16g) from GAR/12/06 was found c. 60cm below the surface in a deposit that contained no later material and seems more likely to tentatively indicate settlement in the vicinity. Taken together with last year’s data, there now seems to be a clustering of pits producing Romano-British pottery (mostly in small amounts) either side of the east-west orientated Thetford-Diss road which currently bisects the village.
GAR/12/05 was the only pit to produce Thetford Ware (850-1100 AD) in 2012, but this is interesting as it represents the first find of material of this date south of the Thetford-Diss road. This pit and GAR/12/06 were the only ones to produce pottery of high medieval date, but these reinforced the indication from 2011 that there was settlement of some sort in this area at this time. None of the 2012 pits produced any pottery datable to the late medieval period, possibly indicating that decline at this time may have been more severe than previously indicated, although with such small volumes of pottery, this cannot be confidently inferred.
None of the areas investigated for the first time in 2012 produced any pottery of medieval or earlier date. The test pit at Hall Farm encountered recent disturbance associated with 19th century structures which prevented this from extending to any great depth. However, the other pits (those at the Mill, on the common and north of Smallworth) were all excavated to natural, but the earliest pottery recovered dated broadly to the 17th – 18th centuries. In no cases were more than a couple of sherds of this date found, suggesting that use of this area was limited until the 19th century.