Despite extensive archaeological investigations in Norwich over many decades, its Middle Saxon origins as Norvic/Northwic remain obscure and elusive and its Anglo-Scandinavian aspects have seen relatively little recognition until recent times. This volume focuses on five excavations in the historic core of the settlement which were excavated by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit and its successor NPS Archaeology between 1999 and 2008. Lying on either side of the River Wensum, linked by a crossing, the investigations revealed archaeological remains of the 7th to 11th centuries. Although admittedly limited in relation to the evidence from other wics, the excavations were significant in revealing in-situ archaeological features of Middle Saxon date, along with a range of contemporary finds such as a dispersed ‘coin hoard’ of the late 7th or early 8th century, sufficient to add weight to the hypothesis of an early trading centre.
Triggered by the Danish invasion of East Anglia of AD 865, a burh to the north of the river enclosed the earlier mercantile centre and related crossing during the early 10th century. The various sites investigated further south lay within Conesford – again, an area with Middle Saxon origins. This formed part of Norwich’s second burh which was enclosed in the 10th or early 11th century. Much of the archaeological evidence finds parallels at other Anglo-Scandinavian centres of the period. Of particular note are the different techniques of building construction on either side of the river, including sunken-floored buildings of urban form, one of which included the remains of a fishing net.
This new analysis provides the opportunity to review aspects such as the pre-Norman settlement and its relationship to the river, trade and overseas contacts, agricultural activity and the fishing industry. These are set against the context of earlier excavations, with due consideration of the local, regional and national setting.
David Adams , Graeme Clarke, 2023. 'Aspects of 7th- to 11th-century Norwich', East Anglian Archaeology 179