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2017

East and West Rudham 2017 Test Pit Location Map

2017 Test Pit Pottery Report

 

In June 2017 a total of 10 1m square archaeological test pits were excavated in East and West Rudham by 49 Year 9, 10 and 12 students from Alderman Peel High School, Cromer Academy, Thomas Clarkson Academy, Litcham School and Fakenham Academy. The test pits were dug as part of the Independent Learning Archaeology Field School (ILAFS) programme, formally known as the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) programme undertaken by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in East Anglia and beyond, which aims to raise the aspirations, enthusiasm and attainment of 14-17 year-olds with regard to higher education by making a valuable contribution to current academic research at the University of Cambridge, into the development of rural communities and settlements in the past.

This was the second year of test pitting in East Rudham but the first of excavations in West Rudham, where also the majority of the test pits were sited and brings the total of pits so far excavated in both settlements to 19. In 2016 evidence for Late Anglo Saxon occupation was found in East Rudham and in 2017 three test pits yielded Late Saxon pottery in West Rudham (ERU/17/3, ERU/17/4 and ERU/17/8). This activity continued to expand into the high medieval with six of the eight test pits in West Rudham producing sherds of high medieval pottery that shows that the original settlement was back from the current main road (the A148) and was alongside Rudham Common to the north of the church. Both settlements seem to have been hit quite badly by the various socio-economic factors of the 14th century, including the Black Death as only three of the 19 pits so far excavated had pottery dating to the late medieval period. The settlements were slow to recover through the post medieval and stayed relatively small but there was also a likely shift in settlement focus to represent the village layouts as seen today.