What’s Been Happening?

“We know where we’re going and we know who’s going with us….”, but where have we been?? Scroll down to find out……March 2015 – July 2017

July 25th 2017 Last Tuesday morning

It was a strange feeling for those who have been coming off and on since last September, washing, brushing, drying, sorting, labelling all of last year’s finds, but this Tuesday was our last of this year. It felt good to know what had been achieved, a little sad the sessions had ended and the table was empty, but excitement because a new chapter with Aylsham Roman Project is about to begin.

July 13th 2017 Gronmoad Tales

Sheila returned to John of Gaunt Infant and Nursery in Aylsham to present the Gronmoad story writers from here and Bure Valley Junior with their special ARP Gronmoad badges and the two star story writers, Zack from Year 1 and Freddie from Year 5 with an ARP pen. A special magazine of our newsletter has been produced and and be viewed here.

July 5th Open Air Talk

It was a sunny evening for our Open Air Talk and it was lovely to see everyone sitting around chatting on the field where it all happened last year. There was a special guest appearance of Gronmoad, although Sable was not too keen! After an introduction, including the fact we now have over 100 Friends and the reading of Maggie Bewley’s poem, Peter talked about how it had all begun, where we are and what we hope to do in August. Thank you all for coming. The next time we meet will be August!


July 4th 2017 Gronmoad Tales

After another week of wood collecting, we were back around the table to continue marking the pottery. First, though, a happy hour was spent reading Gronmoad stories written by children at John of Gaunt Infant and Bure Valley School here in Aylsham. These are to be written up in magazine/book format in the very near future. Thank you, children, for taking part.

June 20th 2017 Wood Collecting

Tuesday morning was a bit different this week as we were out in the woods collecting wood to dry ready for our kiln building exploits in September.


June 13th 2017 We’re going to build a kiln!

Actually we are hoping to build two kilns. A meeting was held today, led by Alice Lyons, to discuss the possibilities of buidling a Roman type 7 kiln, which is like our own kiln 1 and a clamp kiln, an earlier style kiln. We hope to make pots at the beginning of September and then make and fire the kilns over the weekend of September 30th/ October 1st. More details to come!

June 12th 2017 John of Gaunt Infant School

Sheila was at the school talking to Year 1 and 2 and a group of children from Bure Valley Junior about the Project and asking them to write stories about Gronmoad, our Roman dog. There was great interest when her skull appeared!Gronmoad skull

June 10th and 11th 2017 Woodgate Nursery Spring Show

A very busy weekend, with many people coming to see and talk to us. There was a lovely atmosphere on the field – we were right next to last year’s dig (how we wanted to have a look at those kilns again!).



June 10th 2017 Aylsham High School

Colin had a table at the Aylsham Cluster Family Learning Day with a couple of trays of finds for the children to have a look at.

June 3rd 2017 Aylsham Market Place

A first outing for our new flag was at the Aylsham Farmers’ Market, where many people came and found us.


May 26th Britannia Archaeology visit

You know things are getting close when Martin and Dan appear to mark the ground ready for the summer.

X marks the spot

May 18th 2017 Aylsham Rotary

Peter gave a talk to the Aylsham Rotary, updating them on wht has been happening, followed by question time.

May 5th 2017 Aylsham Friday Market

We had a table in the Aylsham Friday Market and talked to many people about the project, some of whom did not know anything about us. They were able to look at photographs of last year’s dig, Julie’s work on the tiles and the latest geophysics. Thanks to ev eryone who stopped and chatted, donated and signed up to become a Friend.

Friday market
Our table display

April 24th 2017 Tesco Bags of Help

Brilliant news! Our project has been shortlisted for a public vote inTesco’s #BagsofHelp initiative. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4000, £2000 and £1000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local communities.

BoH horizontal

This means that, during May and June, there will be a box with our name on in the Aylsham store, along with two others, where you can post the blue token you are given when shopping – please make sure you ask for it and help us secure a Tesco’s #BagsofHelp grant! At the end of the period, these totals will decide who shoul;d receive the £4000, £2000 and £1000 awards. For more information about the scheme click here.

April 15th 2017 Easter Saturday Sale

Thank you to all who brought stuff to sell, those who helped on the stall and everyone who came and saw us, bought something, donated something and chatted to us. It was so good to see so many people. Peter banked £270 which is brilliant. It was also good to sign some new people up to our emailing list who became Friends.

Easter Sale2

April 11th 2017 Beavering Away

Find out who’s been beavering away by clicking here!

beaver tooth

April 11th 2017 Labelling and Photography

Following on from the analysis, pieces of pottery with different designs on them, plus some rims and bases, are being photographed and recorded to create a photographic archive of some of the many pieces of pottery that were found. At the same time, the pieces are being labelled and numbered according to where they were found. A long job, but important so we have a record of everything.


April 4th 2017 Interview with Emma

Peter and Sheila sat down for a Skype call with Emma Stringfellow, studying at the University of Chester. She is conducting a research project into Community Archaeology Projects as part of the requirement for her MA in Archaeology and Heritage Practice. Great to talk to you, Emma, if you come this way in August, please come and see us!

Interview side view

April 3rd 2017 The Aylsham Beaker

During the archaeological work that went on prior to the building of Willow Park opposite to Woodgate in 2013, a non-funerary beaker of the Neolithic/early Bronze age period was discovered in a tree throw. It was made using the coil technique and fired in a bonfire. We are pleased to say that it is now back here in Aylsham and on display at the Aylsham Heritage Centre. The patterning is quite beautiful. Many thanks to all at Oxford Archaeology for making this possible.


March 28th 2017 Beaver Tooth

Julie Curl visits us often and has discovered that what we thought was a bone tool, is actually a beaver tooth amulet. Another animal to add to our list.

March 18th and 21st2017 Pottery Analysis

Alice was here for two days sorting through all the sherds from Kilns 1 and 2 and the Waste Pit. Her initial impression is that a limited range of mainly Sandy grey ware globular jars and straight-sided dishes were produced between the mid-2nd and mid-3rd centuries. Small amounts of Sandy red and white were also made. We eagerly wait her final report!


March 13th 2017 Preparing for Alice!

Pottery sherds from Kiln 1 and the waste pit were laid out ready for Alice Lyons, our pottery expert, to vist on Saturday. It was some sight seeing it like this and we still have Kiln 2 to go!


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March 4th 2017 Aylsham Expo Aylsham Town Hall

We had a great day at Aylsham Town Hall meeting and talking to many people about the project and have added new names to our email list.It was fun too watching the projected images from the summer scrolling through on the wall. Thank you to all who helped organise this.


February 25th 2017 Animal Bones in Archaeology and The ARP by Julie Curl

Around 40 people listened to an interesting and fascinating talk at Aylsham Lodge by Julie Curl of Sylvanus. She started by saying she had been interested in this field from a young age. She moved on to talk about the many animal prints she had found from marks on tiles. These would have been left to dry during the building of eg the villa and a variety of creatures had crossed them. Examples are dog, cat, deer, newt, fox cub and, excitingly, otter and, even more excitingly, a big cat! Julie is still looking and who knows what else she might find! Here is her presentation Bones for Aylsham Lodge JULIE Feb 2017.


Her report about bones found in the area is now available and can be found here.

February 4th 2017 Pottery Talk by Alice Lyons and Sarah Percival

Nearly 60 people attended the talk at Aylsham Lodge. During the first half Alice and Sarah talked about the development of pottery to the Roman Period. After coffee they focussed on the local area, with details of Brampton and Aylsham, closing with images from the two kilns found here at Woodgate. Many questions were asked during a really interesting talk enjoyed by all present. There was also the opportunity to compare Brampton ware with our own Woodgate ware. It was also our first chance to sell our personalised merchandise, many thanks if you bought a t-shirt or a pen! Click here for some of the slides Alice used during the second half. Pottery presentation


February 1st/2nd 2017 Geophysics

A group of brave souls turned up and, disregarding the heavty rain and biting wind, (sorry no photographs), cheerfully took part in the Geophysics with Matt and Adam from Britannia Archaeology. Our grateful thanks to their infinite patience once again – and the warming drinks had in the cafe afterwards. Although nothing of great significance showed, the whole process was interesting. Matt hopes to do some more during the summer dig.

January 24th 2017 Team Gronmoad

A further group of eager volunteers, this week Team Gronmoad, continued the sorting process and marvelled once more at what we had found.


January 17th 2017 Team Sable

Extra volunteers turned up to help with the sorting process, this week Team Sable. Several bags of pottery were spread across the table and eager hands were putting them into different piles – glazed, rims, bases, body sherds.


January 4th 2017 Radiocarbon Dating and Exciting News!

We can now say for certain when our kiln field at Woodgate was in use.  Although this doesn’t date the kiln – we need to find charcoal actually in the kiln itself – charcoal discovered in the rake pit of kiln 1 has been subjected to C14 dating, or Radiocarbon dating. The date range is AD 75 – 235.  This is earlier than expected and means it brings the site into the period when there was a surge in villa building here in Britain. It’s hard to imagine that this small piece of charcoal, buried under the ground here in Aylsham for all these years, carefully removed, bagged and sent on a long journey to Miami, could yield such brilliant results. Thanks, Martin and Britannia Archaeology, for giving us a fantastic start to 2017!


January 3rd 2017 New Year, New Task

With all finds now recorded and in bags, it was time to think about where now? The first task was to look through all the boxes and sort all the kiln material, flint, bone, charcoal and pottery into different piles ready for further inspection.


December 201th 2016 Hallelujah!

After weeks of concordance – brushing, washing, drying, sorting, counting and weighing,  the moment arrived when all had been placed into specially labelled bags and placed in boxes, and recorded into a spreadsheet!  A marathon but rewarding task. Now to the New Year and the next job……


December 1st 2016 Animal Bones – Julie Curl

Julie Curl of Sylvanus came to deliver a talk to a small group gathered in Peter’s kitchen. She described how bones could tell us a lot about how people lived because of what were found in rubbish tips. She looked at the few bones we had found and identified them, describing marks on them having been made by, for instance, a butcher’s knife. She confirmed the skull as that of a dog. Her report about a tile Peter found can be found here. The great news is she will be coing back in the New Year to give her talk to a larger audience and will also join us during the dig in the summer.


November 25th A Tale of Two Villas

Alice Lyons gave an illustrated talk at the Aylsham Heritage Centre.

November 24th 2016 Geophysics

It was a cold day, but all who turned up were keen to have a go. The only thing that wasn’t was the equipment! Martin and Matt from Britannia Archaeology were so disappointed for everyone but, fear not, further dates will be coming in the New Year.


November 10th 2016 August 2016 Dig, Methodist Church, Aylsham

Peter gave his illustrated talk about the August 2016 Dig to “Inspired Gardeners” at the Methodist Church

November 7th 2016 Marsh Award for Community Archaeology

A wonderful day when Peter, Catherine and Teresa, along with Martin and Dan from Britannia Arcaeology received this award from the Council of British Archaeology. The full report can be read here.


October 30th Bric-a-Brac sale, Woodgate Nursery

It might not have been the busiest of days at the Nursery, but Lynda Tipple and her band of helpers raised nearly £200 for the project.

October 19th 2016 August 2016 Dig, Aylsham Heritage Centre

Peter gave an illustrated talk about how things went during the summer dig, describing the finds, the importance of the two kilns, especially the one known as Kiln 2 which is of great histroic interest and how each day brought something new. He showed images of the dig itself and of some of the items found. He also had various artefacts for people to view and handle. He also thanked all the people who had been involved in making the dig so successful. The weather was also a bonus!


October 19th 2016 The History of Woodgate

William Vaughan-Lewis gave a talk about Woodgate, illustrated with maps and photographs found in Peter’s house, at the Aylsham Heritage Centre.

September 7th 2016 Geodrone Survey

A fantastic drone intereactive view of the site was conducted by GeoDrone Surveys. Click here to have a play around with it and see kiln 1 and 2 from a different perspective..


September 2016  ongoing Concordance

A mammoth task was ahead. All the finds from August needed cleaning, sorting and cataloguing. Although a group had washed and brushed each day, there was still loads to do. Toothbrushes at the ready..


August 24th 2016 Mustard TV

Peter, Martin and Dan had a great time as guests on The Mustard Show today talking about the Project and showing some of the finds.


August 2016 Our First Dig

Wow! It was a success beyond everyone’s imagination! Fantastic weather, fantastic turn out, fantastic discoveries, it was, in a word…fantastic! A daily report of the dig, which appeared on Facebook can be found here (link to come), but let’s just say all these people, and more, made it a month to remember.


April 12th 2016 Trial Trench Talk

Peter gave a talk entitled December 2015 Trial Trench at the Aylsham Heritage Centre.

March 29th/30th/April 7th/8th 2016 BERT training

Basic excavation and recording technique (BERT) training was delivered by Martin and Dan from Britannia Archaeology. After an initial talk, everyone made their way outside, where a small trench was dug and theory was put into practice.IMG_0276.PNG

March 10th 2016 Rotary Club Talk

Peter gave a talk entitled The Romans at Woodgate to the Rotary Club at Aylsham Lodge Hotel.

March 3rd 2016 Trial Trench

Peter gave a talk  entitled December 2015 Trial Trench at Aylsham Heritage Centre.

February 13th 2016 Alice Lyons

Alice Lyons visited Woodgate House to advise on pottery identification.

December 2015 Trial Trench

Geophysics by Britannina Archaeology had thrown up some interesting formations on the field, but could they just be tractor tyres? There was only one way to find out, a trial trench. On December 1st/2nd Martin and Matt started digging, immediately bits of pootery appeared. And then, before our eyes, emerged the side of what is now known as Kiln 1. We had ourselves a dig!!!


October 16th 2015 Bure Valley School

Peter and Jayne were at Bure Valley School looking at pottery and cleaning finds with the children.

September 12th 2015 Aylsham Heritage Centre Open Day

Peter used the Centre to display some of his finds. Cathrine was on hand to answer questions. Children’s workshops took place on a Roman theme and more people were encouraged to sign up and show their interest in becoming involved in the project. Wonder if they knew what they letting themselves in for……


August 24th 2015 Sedgeford Visit

Peter, Catherine and Dr. Davies visited the Sedgeford Dig to see how they ran a community project. The visit was hosted by Dr. Neil Faulkner.

August 11th 2015 Discussion

Peter met Dr Davies and Kirstin Hughes  at the Castle Musuem to discuss a community project at Woodgate

June 30th 2015 John of Gaunt Infant School

Peter and Mark, with Jayne from the Aylsham Heritage Centre, went to John of Gaunt Infant School for a Family Learning Day, looking at finds, cleaning etc…..and Latin lessons!

May 23rd/24th 2015 Aylsham Festival at Woodgate Nursery

The festival was organised by Sue Sharpe and Peter and Catherine showed some finds and geophysics results. Dr Davies was on hand for further information, Kirstin Hughes was signing up volunteers – and Mark dressed up as a scary Roman Legionary! It was a great, fun day, with children sieving and learning lots about Romans.

March 24th 2015 A Community Dig?

Dr Davis (Norwich Castle Museum) and Kirstin Hughes (Broadland District Council) met Peter at Woodgate Nursery to survey the site and discuss the possibility of a community dig – this was the start of the reality that it might really be possible……..