Acle students dig up the history on their doorstep

PUBLISHED: 10:05 02 July 2012

Students from Acle high school take part in a archaeological dig in the village.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Students from Acle high school take part in a archaeological dig in the village. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

Students revealed the ancient history surrounding their school and brought the past back to life during a week-long archaeological dig.

Armed with trowels the party of youngsters from Acle High School unearthed arrow head fragments and pieces of Roman pottery during their excavation activities, which also included trying their hand at mosaic making and cooking bread with a traditional Roman oven.

This is the fifth year pupils from the school have gone in search of ancient artefacts with help from a professional team from Norwich-based NPS Archaeology, and had another successful and enjoyable week sifting through the soil.

David Whitmore, from NPS, led the dig that came to a close on Friday.

He said: “The children love it. The demand from the school kids to go on last week’s project was incredible; there’s so much demand.

“They get to learn about archaeology and get a chance to find things.

It’s a really enjoyable experience both for them and me; it’s one of the highlights of my year because they’re great kids.

“We have about three of our staff - professional archaeologists - on site to teach them and help them and show them what to do. It’s a great project.”

Mr Whitmore said the dig plot, off Springfield Road on the edge of the village, is thought to be a site of Roman industry but its exact purpose still remained a bit of a mystery.

He added: “It’s a very interesting Roman site, which we don’t fully understand yet. Two years ago we dug a big pit, which produced over 10,000 pieces of Roman pottery.

“This last couple of years we’ve been looking at ditches and other features related to the Roman activity on site. But defining what that activity is is very difficult. We think there’s some sort of industry going on.”

He and his expert colleagues believe the site could have been home to a salt mine, as during Roman times Acle was instead flanked by the sea.

This was the project’s last week after Acle Parish and Broadland District Council made one off donations to keep it going for a fifth year. But Mr Whitmore is keen to continue archaeological studies with the students and is hoping to organise alternative future activities.

“It’s such a good educational tool. The kids are inspired by it and I know at least two that have been involved in previous years that have gone on to study archaeology,” he added.

Do you have a story about your school? Call reporter Victoria Leggett on 01603 772468 or email

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