A local community archaeology project aimed at discovering and recording examples of medieval graffiti has won a prestigious national award. The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey, which marks its first anniversary this month, was selected as joint winner in the ‘Awards for the Presentation of Heritage Research 2011’ at a ceremony held at the British Museum on Friday. These annual awards, sponsored by English Heritage, aim to encourage researchers to present their research on British and Irish archaeology, historic buildings and heritage conservation, to the wider public.
The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Project began in January 2010 with the aim of carrying out the first large scale study of surviving medieval graffiti inscriptions in Norfolk churches. Although the project has so far only managed to survey about 50 of the counties 650+ medieval churches the results have been a surprise to all involved. “When we began the project”, stated project director Matthew Champion, “we suspected that medieval graffiti inscriptions were far more common than previously thought. However, even we were surprised by the scale of the findings. To date, having surveyed only 50 churches, we have discovered significant medieval graffiti in over 30”.
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