Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks


Discovering the Archaeological Landscape of the Brecks Training Programme

Delivered in partnership between Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils, the project aimed to increase community engagement in the BNG scheme area by training volunteers in archaeological techniques and running open events which encouraged people from all backgrounds to get involved. The first and most important element of the project was the training workshops, providing local people with the skills required to undertake further volunteering and research projects.

Training included ‘Revealing Records’, a set of workshops aimed at training participants in undertaking research through publicly held archives, ‘Brecks and Mortar’, training participants in historic building recording techniques, and also a weekend of test pitting sessions at West Stow Country Park where one young volunteer discovered a Neolithic flint blade core! The training events led on to follow up events, to hone the skills of those who had previously attended training. These included actual building recordings of Cranwich Church and Brandon Mausoleum, additional test-pitting at Santon Warren Lodge and artefact identification drop-in sessions run by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which uncovered a set of 3 polished flint axe heads which had been sat in a drawer for many years.

In total, 85 people participated in the training and follow-up activities, totalling 603 participant days for the project. In June 2017, a Brecks Heritage conference was held to celebrate the outcomes of several of the Breaking New Ground heritage projects. Speakers from the Forestry Commission, Breckland Society, Norfolk Historic Environment Service presented talks, hosted by project lead, Richard Hoggett. 85 people attended the event in Thetford, which received excellent feedback. A great legacy from this project is a much closer working relationship between the Norfolk and Suffolk Historic Environment teams. There is now a joined up approach to events along the border, sharing information and promoting each other’s work. This can be evidenced by the improvements to the on-line Heritage Explorer maps, which are now linked, allowing users to browse across the borders without having to change websites.

For Norfolk County Council's Norfolk Heritage Explorer pages about the project, click here.

Norfolk Heritage Explorer's gallery of images from training events.


  • Joined up mapping approach for Norfolk and Suffolk Heritage Explorer mapping websites.
  • Establishment of regular archaeological finds days.
  • A body of local people with historical research and archaeological skills.
  • Joined up working between Norfolk and Suffolk Historic Environment Teams

I want to be an archaeologist but wasn't sure what part of it I wanted to do, this event has help me experience what it would be like to be a field archaeologist which is very helpful.... it has been a dream come true for me, so thankyou for having me as it's been an experience I will never forget

C Lightning, (age 15)


Brecks and Mortar 25-04-15
Brecks and Mortar 25-04-15