King’s Lynn Urban Archaeological Database

Arial view of King's Lynn taken by D. Edwards. Copyright Norfolk County Council.

This project will produce an Urban Archaeological Database (UAD) for the town of King’s Lynn, with the aim of improving the understanding of the nature and potential of buried archaeological deposits and the town’s historic buildings. The project is part of Historic England’s wider Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) being undertaken in partnership with the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. The Heritage Action Zone aims to turn what could be seen as a threat into an opportunity 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.

Throughout the medieval period King’s Lynn was one of the most important ports and commercial centres on the east coast. This brought great wealth to the town which is reflected in its historic environment, particularly in its surviving historic buildings. The town’s low-lying position and the intensity of medieval activity, particularly on the waterfront, mean that there is high potential for deeply stratified waterlogged deposits with associated artefacts and environmental remains. A detailed understanding of the archaeological record of the town, and in particular the depth, date and character of its underlying archaeological deposits is crucial if the historic environment is to be managed effectively and sites earmarked for development are to be unlocked.

The completed UAD will be fully integrated into the Norfolk Historic Environment Record (HER) and used to create a deposit model of the town, to be complemented by a series of interpretative characterisation maps which will be used to inform future decision-making. The enhanced HER records will be made available via this website. Ultimately, an Archaeological Plan will be produced and adopted by the Borough Council as a Supplementary Planning Document, in order to ensure that one of the town’s outstanding assets, its historic environment, is safeguarded and enhanced.

This project will be undertaken by Alice Cattermole Heritage Consultancy. For more information about the project, please email


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