Archaeologists use radar to discover town's hidden past

Experts are using GPR to dig into Great Yarmouth's past around the Market Place and Minster church

Great Yarmouth's Market Place is one area of focus for a team of archaeologists looking to discover the town's hidden past beneath our feet. - Credit: supplied by GYBC

Archaeologists are looking to map the shape of Great Yarmouth's medieval  town wall and towers for the first time.

Using ground penetrating radar they hope to identify undiscovered structures beneath the ground without having to dig it all up.

The project gets underway on Monday February 14 linking in with a raft of community engagement opportunities including building surveys, test pitting, and schools’ activities.

Carl Smith, Leader Great Yarmouth Borough Council, in the new market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Carl Smith says the 'Uncovering Yarmouth' project is set to be an exceptional experience. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We’ve always known, and been extremely proud of, the rich culture and heritage Great Yarmouth has to offer.

"This opportunity to dig deeper into that history, and learn more than ever before, is an exceptional experience.”

The ‘Uncovering Yarmouth’ project is part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone Scheme and sees Great Yarmouth Borough Council in partnership with Cotswold Archaeology.

The focus is on Great Yarmouth Minster churchyard and around the Market Place.

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In a statement the council said the aim of the survey was to discover the line of the medieval town wall and St Nicholas' Gate, which was demolished in 1799 to extend the churchyard.

Keen archaeologists, hobbyists and anyone interested is encouraged to get involved with the project, which will also offer the chance to undergo skills' training and education.

Jo Caruth, of Cotswold Archaeology, said: "Our team is delighted to be working so closely with the local community and borough council to uncover the history of your renowned market town, which is historically far more significant than its Golden Mile and sandy beach."

Tony Calladine, of Historic England added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to get truly hands-on with history and to discover the stories that the fragments buried beneath our feet can tell us about the lives of ancestors.

"I’m sure that local communities will be involved, inspired and informed, learning new things about the people who lived and worked in Great Yarmouth years ago.”

Rev Simon Ward. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rev Simon Ward has hailed the use to technology to find out more about the Minster churchyard as 'respectful and discreet.' - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Revd Simon Ward, of Great Yarmouth Minster, said: “It’s a unique opportunity in one of the oldest parts of our town to unearth secrets without even disturbing any earth.

"It’s exciting to understand more of the churchyard our forebears knew, and technology allows this to happen in a respectful and discreet way.”

Those interested in getting involved can email Caroline.adams@cotswoldarchaeology.co.uk for more information.