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Coring set to take place to understand archaeology of Common Staithe Quay

Common Staithe Quay car park

Published: Wednesday, 7th July 2021

Areas of Commons Staithe Quay car park will be cordoned off from Monday, 12 July, to enable archaeological bore hole surveys to be done.

This is as part of the ongoing King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone project in partnership with Historic England.

For centuries King’s Lynn was one of the most important ports in England. The Common Staithe (staithe is a Norfolk word for quay) forms part of this historic port area, but little evidence is known of its archaeological significance. The Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, have commissioned Oxford Archaeology East to undertake this work, to better understand any archaeological remains, their condition and state of preservation. The archaeological investigation work is funded by Historic England.

Cllr Graham Middleton, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage, said: "As part of our Historic England funded 5-year Heritage Action Zone project, we have been carrying out research into the archaeology and buildings of the town. This has included a mixture of building and ground surveys, map regression and archive image searches. These investigations have also included archaeological coring. The King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) aims to show how well-designed new development which works with historic King's Lynn can reinforce the economic, social and environmental vitality of this modern medieval town.

“Coring at Common Staithe Quay has the potential to uncover buried archaeological material relating to medieval domestic occupation as well as industry and trade, from medieval, Hanseatic and later periods. Any items uncovered could reveal information about the contemporary landscape. Previous archaeological excavations in King’s Lynn suggest any excavation in the town’s historic core has the potential to reveal well-preserved organic material due to waterlogging.

“A similar exercise has already been carried out at the Chapel Street car park. Here the coring indicated activity at the site from the medieval period, and included finds such as ceramic building materials.

“The results of both coring studies will be shared with the local community in order that everybody can learn about the heritage of the town.”

Tony Calladine, Regional Director for Historic England in the East of England said: “We’re excited to see archaeological research work start on the Common Staithe Car Park and are looking forward to seeing what’s discovered. These rich connections to King’s Lynn’s historic past and people are vital for understanding and celebrating its unique character. Such understanding can help heritage play an important role in regeneration and economic growth in the town. We’ll be working in partnership with Oxford Archaeology East, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk and Norfolk County Council to preserve, record and understand these archaeological remains.

The work on site will take approximately one week, and the archaeologists will work closely with the borough council and adjacent property owners to safely managed the survey and keep disruption to a minimum.

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