Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project.
Based on Sedgeford Hall Estate, SHARP was established in 1996 and is one of the largest independent archaeological projects in Britain and is firmly rooted in the local community. SHARP is a long term, multi period, multi disciplinary research project to investigate the entire range of human activity. Six weeks of summer excavations are complemented by landscape archaeology and historical research work throughout the year. Anyone can visit the dig or attend public lectures during July and August.
SHARP traces its origins to a chance meeting in 1995 between SHARP’s founder director, Dr Neil Faulkner, and the late Professor Bernard Campbell, owner of the Sedgeford Hall Estate, in a bar in Naples.
Neil was keen to undertake an archaeological excavation to explore some ideas regarding democracy and accessibility in archaeology, and was seeking a suitable site. Bernard and his wife Susan told Neil about the archaeology on their Norfolk estate and invited him to come up and take a look. There it might have rested, unexplored, like many casual holiday exchanges of contact details.
When Neil contacted the Campbells he informed them of the scale of his proposed plans, believing that they may politely retreat from their initial offer in Italy. However, it soon transpired that they were as serious as he was.
In the many years of excavation that have followed to date, the Campbell family has remained interested and supportive and has become the ever-willing patron of one of the largest and longest-running archaeological research and training projects in Britain.
SHARP was set up without specific project designs – and continues to operate that way today – but has a broad objective of understanding human settlement and land usage within the parish of Sedgeford. They have undertaken a wide range of excavation and research projects from an Early Bronze Age crouch-burial through to a First World War aerodrome.
In addition to their research, SHARP has always placed great emphasis on archaeological education and development. Since 1996, thousands of people have arrived at the Boneyard Field site to excavate, carry out research, or take one of the many courses. Many archaeologists got their start at SHARP. Large numbers of these people now work today in a variety of roles in commercial archaeology, academic research, and the heritage sector.