March 2022 update

Test-pit digging in our community archaeology project returns this Summer. The last set of diggings’ findings are discussed in the Wreningham interim report.

The three sites selected for the second round of test-pitting are:

  • 26th June 2022 Jean will host the dig at Shelley Cottage on Wymondham Rd
  • 3rd July 2022 Val will host the dig at The Old Homestead in Top Row
  • 24th July 2022, Jill will host the dig at Willeys Croft on Church Road

Please register your interest with Steve Hickling (details below) who is co-ordinating the project and the experts who review the findings. There will be a mid-morning start at 10am. Volunteers should bring a shovel / spade / mattock or pickaxe and a trowel or sieve if you have them. Some suggest that bringing a flask of coffee and some lunch also help with motivation!

The contact for interest and question is Steve Hickling, currently working from home, but reachable at:

Historic Environment Officer, Community and Environment Services, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich

Tel: 01362 869285 | Dept: 01362 869278 | Mobile: 07775687817 | email:

August 2018 post

The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got off to a promising start over the weekend of August 11-12 with a total of five test-pits dug in gardens around the village, reports archaeologist Steve Hickling, who is leading the project.

A sunny weekend saw pits being dug in people’s gardens on Wymondham Road, Ashwellthorpe Road, Mill Lane and the B1113 and all the test-pits yielded some interesting results:

Victorian pottery and little bits of tile were unsurprisingly found in all the test-pits and almost all also yielded prehistoric burnt flints (pot-boilers). These are flint pebbles heated in a fire and then thrown into a liquid in order to heat-up that liquid.

In prehistoric times pottery was terrible and would not survive being put on a fire to heat the contents so pot-boilers were used instead. It is thought that they were heating liquid as part of the process of dying cloth or perhaps making beer. A great number were found in Graham’s test-pit on Mill Lane.

Two of the pits yielded medieval pottery. One on Ashwellthorpe Road produced a couple of sherds, and one on Wymondham Road, behind Pear Tree Farmhouse, produced some rather large sherds. This suggests that there is medieval occupation here.

Pear Tree Farm is a lovely c.17th century timber-framed farmhouse. The test pit produced a lot of c.17th century pottery, a posthole and a layer of redeposited yellow clay, which may be spoil from a deep hole dug nearby, or the remains of a demolished clay-lump building. The medieval pottery suggests that the present house may be a rebuilding of a medieval farm.

All the artefacts recovered will be cleaned and passed to an expert for dating and describing.

What Next?

The next step is to excavate a couple more test-pits on Saturday 1st of September. It would be nice if we could have people to help with the two test-pits on the 1st September. Both are in the middle of the village. If anyone else wants to take part, please let me know on 01508481718 or email me on

Ashwellthorpe Road pit

Wymondham Road pit

Mill Lane pit

About Michael Hill

Wreningham Parish Council Chair

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