Archaeological unit behind major Norfolk excavations to be closed down
- Credit: NORFOLK MUSEUM SERVICE
An archaeological unit - whose highly specialised workers helped investigate remarkable Norfolk discoveries including Seahenge and the West Runton Mammoth - is to be closed down.
The jobs of seven staff are at risk due to the phased shut down of the NPS Archaeological Unit (NAU), with bosses saying the decision "has not been taken lightly".
But bosses at Norse say the unit, originally known as the Norfolk Archaeological Unit, is making losses.
A spokesperson for Norse said: "A formal staff consultation was launched in March to review the future of the NPS Archaeological Unit (NAU), a private business owned by NPS Property Consultants Ltd.
"On the conclusion of this consultation, it has been decided that the NAU will close. This will take place in a phased manner, during which time it will fulfil its obligations to complete all outstanding client commissions. We anticipate these will have been fully met in 2022.
"This decision, which has not been taken lightly, is as a result of the continued loss-making position of the small, and highly specialist service which was transferred to NPS from Norfolk County Council in 2006 with no specific project funds or guaranteed income.
"Regrettably, this means that the employment of seven members of staff has been put at risk. Any alternative and suitable opportunities within Norse Group will been offered to them, as they arise.
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"In the meantime, we continue to support our colleagues throughout the phased close down."
The Norfolk Archaeological Unit, which became NAU, was established in 1972 and is one of the oldest and most experienced archaeological organisations in the country.
It worked on excavations such as Seahenge, excavating the 4,500-year-old timber circle from the beach at Holme, near Hunstanton, and the West Runton Mammoth in 1995.
Among many other projects the unit worked on were the excavation on the site of the Norwich Millennium Library in 1998 and 1999, work at Burgh Castle and, between 2001 and 2003, at Norwich Cathedral, ahead of the building of the hostry.