Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project

1 min read
Participants excavating an Anglo Saxon Malting Complex in Sedgeford.
Anglo Saxon Malting Complex – Unique (Credit: SHARP)

SHARP (the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project) is a long-term, independently-run archaeological project. Our primary objective is the investigation of the entire range of human settlement and land use in the north-west Norfolk parish of Sedgeford. Established in 1996, SHARP is one of the largest independent archaeological projects in Britain and is firmly rooted in the local community.

SHARP offers financial support for excavation and our courses through the John Hensby Bursary. For further information, email [email protected]

We welcome all volunteers regardless of background and often no previous experience of archaeology is necessary, as on-site training courses are run every week during the excavation, as well as a wide array of other specialised training courses.

Our ongoing excavation focus is on a complex of Anglo-Saxon malting houses, located to the east of the previously excavated settlement, within Chalk Pit field. Our research on this particular site has been ongoing since 2013 and is now beginning to produce a remarkable insight into how these rare features within the Anglo-Saxon period would have functioned. In addition to our main excavation, we also undertake several smaller evaluation excavations. You can read more about our ongoing excavations on our blog.

There are several ways in which to participate in one of Britain’s leading archaeological research and training opportunities.

Location: Sedgeford, Norfolk, PE36 5LT
Region: East (East Anglia)
Time period: Mesolithic to WW2 – main excavations for 2022 will be Anglo Saxon and Roman
Accommodation provided: Campsite available or independent booking of local accommodation
Level of experience required: If attending the Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques Course, no experience required. As a volunteer, must have had two weeks experience.
Academic credit available: Yes – accredited to sign off BAJR Passport
Extra on-excavation activities:

  • Festival of Archaeology Open Day July 24, 2022.
  • Events planned every evening.
  • Tuesday Lectures include: The Anglo Saxon Settlement in Chalkpit Field (Phil Hill), Seahenge and its Sister (David Robertson), Three Sharp-Bladed Trauma Victims (Ray Baldry), Excavations of a Romano-Celtic Temple (Paddy Lambert), The Paston Letters (Peter Stibbons) and more.
  • Range of Courses: the Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques Courses dig weeks 1-5, Non Invasive Course Week 1, Intro to Zooarchaeology Analysis, Historic Building Research and Surveying, Intro to Human Remains, Dig for a Day and a Day Archaeometallurgy Workshop.

Age limit: Persons aged 14 or 15 are welcome to attend with a parent or guardian accompanying. Ages 16 and 17 may attend unaccompanied with parental or guardian permission.
Dates: June 26 – August 5 2022
Cost: Various prices ranging from on-site camping to off-site. Concessions available and a bursary available for qualifying applicants. All details available on the SHARP Website.
Contact name: Brian Fraser (Bookings Secretary)
Contact address: Through Booking Enquiries at https://www.sharp.org.uk/contact
Contact telephone: 07862 731577
Contact email: [email protected]
Website address: https://www.sharp.org.uk/
Social media:
Blog – https://www.sharp.org.uk/blog
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1499756993659206



    A fantastic dig for first-timers since it has a well-structured training element.

    However, the site has been under excavation for years. It is therefore full of old-timers. Some newcomers can thus find the site rather cliquey.


    Excellent-value food. Camping for all – so you need to bring your own tent. Showers and loos 15 mins from the site.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Best for students

    • I have found Sedgeford the least cliquey site of all (as a mature student, I graduated in 2012 at the age of 45 and thus might be considered an ‘old timer’ by some). Great people from all walks of life. Can’t wait to get back there (absence in 2013 due to being on the dole despite 1st degree)

      Sedgeford rocks


    The courses are well taught and you learn much from them. You will want to keep going back!!!


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? It is very good for students and first timers as i was, and had a brilliant time and learned a lot. You become fully involved with the excavating and recording of the site whatever your level of experience. Everyone was very friendly and there are also activities after digging hours to socialise.


    I’ve been returning to this site for years – from Canada ! I came as a beginner archaeologist and got hooked. It’s an excellent intro for those just starting out, but offers the opprtunity to grow with a long-term project and develop new areas of interest. It’s especially good for those wanting hands -on experience with human remains.

    Brilliant opportunity for arky students to gain experience – including supervisory experience.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Hey ! The shower and toilet facilities are really only 7 minutes from the campsite.


    A very good training dig indeed; very friendly (and not clique-y, unless one regards old friends re-meeting as clique-y). Training excellent, with brilliant human remains opportunities not normally available to non-professionals.

    In fact, that’s what makes Sedgeford so good: those without any/with little experience are well-taught and their opinions valued. No ‘hogging the best bits’ by the professionals/experienced diggers on this site (as has happened on other sites I have dug). If you find it, you dig it (with appropriate supervision, of course).

    There’s always a wide range of ages on site, from 17 to 70 (ish). And yes, the toilets etc are even less than 7 minutes away (depends on where you camp and how fast you walk…takes me about 3 usually).

    The large number of returnees underlines what a good experience Sedgeford is for the vast majority of those who attend.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Remember to take enough old clothes to cope with wet/cold/boiling hot weather. And a tent/sleeping bag good enough to cope with the UK summer!

  5. ITS FAB!

    I’ve never met so many clever, interesting and yet still open-minded people of all ages anywhere else in society! Its a fantastic site archaeologically speaking and because you have to interpret, draw and log what you personally dig your input is there in the records forever which feels lovely (and scary!). I will always be proud to have been at Sedgeford even though i only manage a week every now and then.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Do the B.E.R.T course, even if you are already on a degree course its still a very good and well taught comprehensive intro (or re-cap) of vital skills and info, and its a good way of meeting people….oh and get yourself onto a pub quiz team, another good way to feel you belong.


    I have been at the site for the past four seasons and despite my age (67) have enjoyed my time very much.

    Sedgeford I feel is unique in that if you come across a skeleton then you will excavate it (under supervision of course).

    The courses are the envy of many other sites and are very well run. Long may it continue.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Carry on with the good work.


    I have been going do three seasons, having started with the BERT course. Only able to go for one week this season – hopeI will be able to go for longer next year.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Great for first timers – do the BERT course to start and then volunteer as much as possible.


    Site is well run, have been attending when i can since 2005, started with the BERT course. The facilities are good, well run site, plenty of chance to get envolved.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? The BERT Course is invaluable in providing a good foundation in excavation and survey, well worth doing it.


    New to S.H.A.R.P., I was made to feel very welcome. The course was a very well taught, hands on experience. Sharing a supper table with people of similar interest and enthusiasm was stimulating. Although to some the site is remote (not to me as I live near to it)the most is made of the facilities within the local community. I definitely would like to go back next year and do the BERT course and dig as a volunteer.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? The introductory course on “Archaeology of human remains” was excellent.

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