The National Mapping Programme in Norfolk

The National Mapping Programme (NMP) is an English Heritage initiative, which aims to identify, map and interpret all archaeological sites throughout England visible on aerial photographs. The aim of the programme is to gain an understanding and to provide a synthesis of past human settlement and activity from the Neolithic period to the 20th century. Sixty-four NMP projects are currently either completed or underway, with 40.9% of the country already mapped. Further details of all of these projects can be found at the English Heritage website.

The Norfolk NMP uses a variety of aerial photographs, including the approximately 86,000 aerial photographs in the Norfolk Air Photograph Library. The National Monuments Record collection (held at Swindon), Cambridge University aerial photographs from the Unit for Landscape Modelling and vertical photography from Norfolk County Council are amongst the other sources consulted. 

Since 2001, the Norfolk NMP team has mapped approximately 39% of Norfolk, recording almost 9,000 archaeological sites, around 50% of which had not previously been recorded. This has created an archaeological map covering over 2,150 sq km. The areas covered include the coast, the Broads, selected areas of Norfolk’s aggregate-bearing landscapes and the Growth Points of Norwich and Thetford along with the interlinking A11 corridor. The project team are currently working in Suffolk, assessing Lothingland, Greater Lowestoft and North Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.

Copies of the reports produced during the Norfolk NMP projects looking at the archaeology of the coast and broads can be downloaded from the English Heritage website by following the links below:

The Archaeology of Norfolk's Coastal Zone by J. Albone, S. Massey & S. Tremlett (2007)

The Archaeology of Norfolk's Broads Zones by J. Albone, S. Massey & S. Tremlett (2007)

Sites recorded by the Norfolk NMP projects include Bronze Age burial mounds, Iron Age settlements, Roman camps, medieval villages and World War Two defences. The maps and records created by each project can be consulted via the Norfolk Historic Environment Record and this website.

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