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Photo gallery: Archaeologists uncover history at the Mermaid Inn in Hedenham

16:07 25 July 2011

The Mermaid Inn at Hedingham hold a summer fair. Carenza Lewis leads an archeaological dig in the pub

The Mermaid Inn at Hedingham hold a summer fair. Carenza Lewis leads an archeaological dig in the pub's garden.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Archaeologists have uncovered a wealth of interesting artefacts after excavating at a Norfolk pub.

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The finds were discovered during a dig at the Mermaid Inn at Hedenham, near Bungay, on Sunday.

The dig took place at a Summer Fayre put on to raise money for sufferers of cancer.

Carenza Lewis, of Channel 4’s Time Team, led the digs and explained how excited she was as it was the first time she had excavated in the area she grew up in.

“We’ve never dug here before and we had no idea what we would find,” Dr Lewis explained.

“It’s the closest I’ve ever done to digging to my childhood home and it’s lovely also to be part of a community raising money for Macmillan.”

The team found a Victorian pipe, evidence of a pre-historic settlement dating from over 3000 years ago, items from either the Bronze or Iron Age, Medieval pottery and cooking implements from the time of the Norman conquest.

Dr Lewis said there was also evidence of a Roman settlement and there have been a succession of people living in the area.

She added: “I think it is interesting because we have no previous archaeological things from here before. We also found a seventeenth to eighteenth drinking spout so what we have here is pub archaeology, which dates back from the King Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I time.”

When asked if the Tudor king or queen would have ever drunk here, Dr Lewis laughed and added: “Who knows?” Anna Thatcher, 43, and her daughter Ruby Thatcher, eight, of Ditchingham, also took part in the fun.

Mrs Thatcher said: “It’s been really great. Ruby spent the whole day digging in the archaeology pits.

“It’s a brilliant event too because it’s local and a lot of village fetes are dying out now.”

Ruby added: “It was really good and really interesting digging and cleaning the items. I had lots of fun.” The event, which also included stalls and live music, has so far raised over an estimated £500, half of the target needed for the team at the Mermaid Inn to reach their Macmillan business challenge target of £1000.

Joint-landlady Leanne Freeman, said: “There a lot of people who feel strongly about Macmillan.

“I would like to thank all you to everyone, they made it such a great day.”

She was also very excited about the finds and added: “To go back so many centuries is unbelievable and the most exciting thing for us was the prehistoric findings.

“We may ask the team to come back and do more digging.” Dr Lewis plans to research the findings further over the next two weeks.

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