Norwich, Castle Mall

Norfolk Archaeological Unit, 2009

Data copyright © Norfolk Archaeological Unit unless otherwise stated


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Primary contact

Dr Liz Popescu
Post Excavations and Publications Manager
Oxford Archaeology (East)
15 Trafalgar Way
Bar Hill
Cambridgeshire
CB23 8SQ
Tel: 01954 204193
Fax: 01954 273376

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1000173
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Norfolk Archaeological Unit (2009) Norwich, Castle Mall [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000173

Introduction

Funded by English Heritage and the developer (Estates and General/Friends Provident), extensive excavations in central Norwich have permitted detailed analysis of the great Norman and medieval institution of Norwich Castle and part of the Anglo-Saxon town that preceded it. The results appear in four volumes of the East Anglian Archaeology series:

Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98, Part I: Anglo-Saxon to c.1345, by E. Shepherd Popescu, East Anglian Archaeology 132
Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98, Part II: c.1345 to Modern, by E. Shepherd Popescu, East Anglian Archaeology 132
Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98, Part III: A Zooarchaeological Study, by U. Albarella, M. Beech, J. Curl, A. Locker, M. Moreno-García and J. Mulville, with E. Shepherd Popescu, East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper 22
Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98, Part IV: People and Property in the Documentary Record, by M. Tillyard, with E. Shepherd Popescu, East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper 23.

Reconstruction of Norwich Castle

Reconstruction of Norwich Castle as it may have appeared in the late 11th century, showing the timber keep on its small motte. The possible extent of the ditched Castle Fee boundary is indicated, with the church and cemetery of St John lying just outside the castle's south gate. (© Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. Painted by Nick Arber)

The digital archive that appears on these web pages forms the fifth element of the publication and presents detailed information on the various cemeteries that were sealed by the castle defences, as well as a group of 17th-century prison burials found on the castle mound.

Use the link below for more information on the Castle Mall excavations:







The Excavations

Excavation Programme

The Castle Mall excavations took place in 18 areas (the numbering of which was defined by the developer's programme), supplemented by more than 80 watching briefs (Fig 1.2; Fig 1.3). The excavated cemeteries were recorded in Areas 1, 6 and 22 (Farmer's Avenue: Cemetery 3), Areas 1 and 13 (St John: Cemeteries 1 and 4), Area 45 and its environs (beneath barbican: Cemetery 2) and in a watching brief at the top of the castle mound (T49 & 51) (Fig_4.140).

Figure 1.3

Fig 1.3 Excavation Area numbers. Click the image for a full-size version in a new window.

Figure 1.2

Fig 1.2 Plan of excavated areas at Castle Mall. Click the image for a full-size version in a new window.

Area 1 was excavated between May and October 1989; Area 6 between November and December 1989; Area 22 in November to December 1990; Area 13 in January to March 1990 and Area 45 in October 1990. Those graves at the junctions of areas containing cemeteries were therefore excavated in two parts with any necessary equations made during post-excavation analysis.

Site Conditions
St John burial

Excavation of graves adjacent to the pileline surrounding the development site.

Excavation conditions on this joint occupancy urban site were occasionally difficult, with some graves damaged by the insertion of piling. Weather occasionally hampered excavation of the burials, with extremes of heat, cold and wet all being encountered.

The speed of the development programme meant that, while most graves were carefully excavated, some had to be excavated at speed and unfortunately some were minimally recorded with no photographs taken. In one part of the St John's cemetery (Area 1), graves were recorded only using total station theodolite points for the head and foot, with grave cuts having to be reconstructed from site data during analysis.