Norham

Dig reveals medieval buildings on site of new Norham housing estate

ARCHAEOLOGISTS taking part in a pre-development dig in Norham have uncovered what appear to be the remains of early medieval buildings.
Samples have been sent off for radio carbon dating to find out exactly how old the buildings are, but archaeologists think they could date back to the 12th century when Norham Castle was built.

Philippa Cockburn, of Tyneside-based Archaeological Research Services, said: “Norham is a historic village with its castle and church, so we were always likely to find some interesting archaeology here but it’s always a pleasant surprise when you come across something like this.”

Colleague Dan Amat said: “It’s been an exciting dig. We’ve found some early medieval walls but we’re not quite sure what it is. It could be a farm dwelling or an outbuilding. There is a hearth with burnt bits around it and we’ve found some bits of pottery which should enable us to put a firm date on it all.

“There is also a one-metre deep well which could go down about 20 metres. We tried to dig down but unfortunately the earth was so firm it blunted our digging machine!”

The pair have spent the past two weeks digging in the Glebe Field opposite Norham St Coelwulf’s First School. Earlier this year, seven trenches had been dug to give them a rough idea of where to look.

Dan added: “Aerial photography had also been taken which showed traces of settlements in the field nearby and from the results of the trench digs a few months ago it was pretty obvious there was something here.”

A planning application to build 25 affordable homes on the site was submitted to Northumberland County Council earlier this month. It is not thought the archaeological findings will impact on the plans.

English heritage: Norham Castle Archaeological Investigation Report

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