GALLERY: Tilney history group members dig in for their first taste of archaeology

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of (pictured) Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of (pictured) Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

MEMBERS of a village history group took their first steps into excavating their history when archaeologists visited to teach them how to run a dig.

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture: Ian Burt

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Sixteen villagers from Tilney All Saints turned their trowels on retired farmers Peter and Christine Hansed’s vegetable garden, which yielded medieval pottery and other remains.

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture: Ian Burt

An archaeological dig is taking place at the home of Peter and Christine Hansed. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Mr Hansed, who moved onto the seven-acre smallholding off School Road in 1962, said he hoped to find the remains of a farmhouse which may once have stood where he now tends his spuds and carrots.

Peter Hansed found a penny or half-penny dated 1774 in his back garden a few years ago. Picture: Ian

Peter Hansed found a penny or half-penny dated 1774 in his back garden a few years ago. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

“I wasn’t into archaeology when I was younger,” he admitted. “I was more into growing crops.”

Peter Hansed found a silver farthing dated 1280-1300 in his back garden a few years ago. Picture: Ia

Peter Hansed found a silver farthing dated 1280-1300 in his back garden a few years ago. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

But over the years, Mr Hansed has amassed a collection of coins – including a 13th Century farthing – and pieces of pottery and brick. The latter could well point to a property pre-dating the Hanseds’ current property, parts of which date back to 1745.


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Members of the village history society were joined by Gressenhall-based archaeologists Claire Bradshaw and Amanda Rix, who showed them how to dig test pits a level at a time, cataloguing their finds.

Miss Bradshaw said they had uncovered pieces of brick and fragments of Grimston Ware – medieval glazed pottery fired a few miles up the road.

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“When we come out and teach other people to do this we get a lot more information than we would otherwise,” she added. “We’ve been doing a project in Binham recently, where they seem to have dug up most of a Roman villa.”

Further digs are planned around Tilney. As members broke for lunch, June Mitchell, one of the founders of the group, said the village had a rich history. Members travel to archives around the county to copy centuries-old archives, so their contents can be made available for posterity.

Last year, they copied a giant scroll detailing the history of the Tilney family since around the time of the Domesday Book. A life-size replica of the relic is now on display in the village’s 11th century All Saints Church.

Roger Collison, chairman of the local history group, who lives in Station Road, said: “There’s not many people still around who’ve lived in the village all their lives, I shouldn’t think there’s 20 in the village who have. If you’re interested in local history, you tend to have a dig around and see what’s going on.”

Mrs Mitchell said: “The whole thing’s been really interesting, we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s quite a learning thing for us as well.”

• The history society is presenting a talk by Dr John Albarn, former county archivist, about the Tilney scroll. It’s being held at the village church on Saturday, May 11, from 2.30pm.

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