TV Time Team to reveal secrets of ancient Norfolk fort
10:57 05 January 2013
The secrets of one of Norfolk’s most important archaeological sites will be revealed by television’s leading band of artefact-hunters tomorrow.
Channel 4’s Time Team swept on to the internationally important Branodunum Roman fort in August and left after three days claiming their visit revealed more about the site than ever before.
The combination of ground imaging and exploratory trenches helped the team paint a clear picture of not only the layout of the fort, but also brought to life some of the stories of the people who lived there nearly 2,000 years ago.
It has been described as their most ambitious geophysics project to date and Time Team’s largest ever range and number of finds recovered from a Roman site.
David Gurney, historic environment manager at the county council, was closely involved in the dig, and is looking forward to the programme.
He said: “Apart from some very limited excavations and some cropmarks, we know remarkably little about this well-known site.
“This project was carefully designed to answer some quite specific research questions, and the combination of the first-rate geophysics and some carefully-positioned trenches up to a metre deep meant that most of those questions were answered.
“On Sunday we will see for the first time how our knowledge and understanding of the site will be transformed.
“There’s no doubt that we will need to rewrite the guide book and the site interpretation panels as a result, and we will have a much clearer picture of what Brancaster was like in Roman times.”
The fort was built around 230AD to guard the Wash approaches. It later became part of the Saxon Shore fortification system.
The main targets from the excavation were the fort’s defences, the main headquarters building, an enigmatic misaligned building inside the fort, the civilian settlement to the east and a possible earlier fort site to the north.
As a result of the surveys, several previously-unknown buildings inside the fort were discovered, including huge granaries, barrack blocks for the soldiers and a possible horse training arena. The excavation by Time Team involved up 70 people and was carried out with English Heritage, the National Trust and Norfolk County Council’s Historic Environment Service.
The excavation and findings at the North Norfolk site will be screened on Channel 4 tomorrow at 5.25pm. It is the first Time Team programme of 2013 and it was also the last-ever Time Team excavation in the current format.