Welcome to Caistor Roman Project

Find out about our work and get involved

Working in partnership with the University of Nottingham, the Caistor Roman Project was set-up in 2009 to encourage community involvement in archaeological research in and around the Roman town of Venta Icenorum – present-day Caistor St. Edmund in Norfolk.  

Caistor St Edmund (Venta Icenorum) is one of only three Roman regional capitals in Britain that were not succeeded by medieval and modern towns; the others are Wroxeter and Silchester. The aim of the project is to investigate the origins of the site in the late Iron Age and its development as a Roman town as well as the relationship between the town and its surrounding countryside.

The Caistor Roman Project is a registered charity

Walls of Caistor Roman Town looking west. Photo Nick Stone.

Since the conclusion of major excavations at the Roman town in 2012, Caistor Roman Project has continued to develop as a research organization in its own right, working in partnership with the University of Nottingham, Norfolk Archaeological Trust, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk Museums and Archaeological Service, with the aim of investigating the origins, development and demise of the Roman town and its relationship with the surrounding hinterland.

Caistor Roman Project actively seeks to involve the local community in programmes of excavation, field survey and other research. We always welcome new members, experience is not necessary.

We are always grateful for contributions, large or small, to help us continue this work.

The development of this website was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund.

Absolutely wonderful! – such exciting work being done. An inspiration to younger generations, as the grandmother of two young girls who are fascinated by the whole idea of finding lost things and the stories it tells us of the past!

Sue – Visitor to the Temple Field Dig

The Roman town site is owned by Norfolk Archaeological Trust

What we do

For more detailed information on what we do click here.

The area

Find out more about Caistor St Edmund and the area we work in.

Who we are

The Caistor Roman Project is a community archaeology organisation

Local volunteers have been a key part of the University of Nottingham’s Caistor project from its inception. In 2009 a separate charitable organisation, Caistor Roman Project (CRP), was established to facilitate the development of community participation in archaeology at the site. 

Since the conclusion of large-scale excavations at the walled town in 2012, CRP has focused its efforts on developing its members’ skills through archaeological research in the hinterland of the Roman town.

This work, involving geophysical survey, test-pitting and larger-scale excavation (supported principally by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Sharing Heritage and Our Heritage schemes, and the Foyle Foundation), has demonstrated the extent of Roman and later archaeology beneath the present village of Caistor St Edmund.

Equally, it has created a structure and skills base for CRP that has allowed it to become a sustainable independent organisation carrying out research in its own right, such as at Thorpe Abbotts (What The Americans Left Behind) and Burnham Market.

The trustees of CRP provide oversight of CRP from funding and strategic direction across all its activities. See Trustees section for further details

We currently have over 100 members who get involved in all of our activities

The ethos of CRP is that its members have the opportunity not simply to participate in the practicalities of fieldwork, but to carry out research from project design to publication, working in partnership with academics and professional archaeologists. The charitable remit of the group is educational in the widest sense. Members work in schools and the community as a whole to bring participation in archaeology to the wider public (working in partnership with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust), as well as taking the practical and organisational skills that they have learned at Caistor to other community archaeology projects.

What we do

Working in partnership with the University of Nottingham since 2007, Caistor Roman Project and its members have been involved with excavations and surveys in and around the Roman town of Venta Icenorum.

What we do

For more detailed information on what we do including research, excavation, post-excavation, education and to find out more about the area we work in click here.

Came last year and decided to come back to see the next stage. Great crowd. Very knowledgeable and keen to answer questions. Shame history wasn’t like this when we were at school. Long may it continue. Happy to support.

Glenn & Josalyn – Visitors to open day

Excavations and surveys

From 2007 CRP was involved in research and excavation within the walled area of Venta Icenorum, including major digs between 2009 to 2012. From 2016 and 2019 the project was awarded a major National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to help develop the skills of its members and enhance the wider public benefit through a new broader programme of work around the Roman town.

Conferences & talks

CRP organised a one-day conference in 2017 with the University of Nottingham – ‘A town of the Iceni’. Sponsored by the British Academy, the conference brought together specialists and archaeologists to summarise results to date. We also offer educational talks and projects to local history groups and other organizations.

Amazing! I didn’t know this history was on our doorstep. Thanks for enlightening me.

Ben – Visitor, 2019 open day.

Caistor St. Edmund village

During 2014 and 2016, CRP members investigated the extra-mural area of the Roman town that lies in the area of the present village using test-pitting and surveys. In particular looking at the area that lies within the surrounding triple-ditch enclosure.

Archive work

As part of our recent Heritage Lottery Fund project, our members have been carrying out archive research relating to the site and the village itself.

Enthusiastic and knowledgeable explanations of the site suggest a thoroughly professional organisation.

D. Smith – Visitor


CRP Summer Dig 2021 – Dates For Your Diaries

CRP Summer Dig 2021 – Dates For Your Diaries

We are delighted to confirm the dates for our 2021 summer excavation which are Saturday 14 August to Sunday 28 August.  The site set-up (fencing, marquee, toilets, tools, etc.) will be in week beginning Monday 9th August. This will be our 3rd and probably final year...

CRP in Current Archaeology

CRP in Current Archaeology

current_archaeology Caistor Roman Project – a community archaeology group centred around the Roman town of Venta Icenorum at present-day Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk – received an unexpected morale-booster in August: an emergency grant from the National Lottery...

CRP Winter Talks

CRP Winter Talks

As we are unable to meet as normal this winter, we set up a series of online CRP members' talks. The programme this winter was: Wed 27th Jan 7.30pm CRP Winter Briefing Will Bowden and Mike Pinner will lead a session looking back on 2020 and forward to the 2021 season...

BBC Online

BBC Online

The BBC Online article went live on 14 September this year, on the BBC website here and generated further publicity.  Below is the list of coverage: The Times, Monday 14 September 2020 Eastern Daily Press, Monday 14 September 2020 Times Radio, Will Bowden interviewed...

The barn

The barn

The barn is now closed for general activities until springtime. All the finds from the dig in the Caistor Hall Hotel have been cleaned, counted and weighed. This was due to the excellent turn-out over the last few weeks (subject to social distancing, masks, etc.) and...

Roman Britain and where to find it

Roman Britain and where to find it

'Roman Britain and where to find it' by Dr Denise Allen and Mike Bryan (£19.99) The 256 pages of this book do exactly that. Written by the director of an archaeology tour company (Allen) and a publisher only now studying Roman archaeology (Bryan) the academics will...