Diss strap end proves town's history dates back further than believed

Diss Dig
Image caption University students and local school pupils exploring ancient rubbish tips in Diss

The discovery of a medieval bronze strap end from a 13th Century belt proves a Norfolk town was inhabited 400 years before previously believed.

Dr Tom Licence, director of the Centre of East Anglian Studies, led a group of students and local school pupils on a dig at Diss on Saturday.

Their aim was to locate and explore rubbish pits of former inhabitants.

Artefacts unearthed indicate occupation of the site long before 1637, the previously recorded earliest date.

Image caption The area is to be regenerated with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Dig Diss is the first of many community activities planned as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to involve pupils from Diss High School and the Waveney branch of the Norfolk Young Archaeologists.

Helen Geake, formerly of TV's Time Team and now with the British Museum, said the strap ends from belts were frequently found in digs on London's waterfront so are easily dated.

Deborah Sarson, town clerk, said Heritage Lottery funding was helping to regenerate the historical centre of Diss.

"The project will restore and extend the Corn Hall, transform the streets around the Heritage Triangle, and create a Boardwalk and floating island on the Mere.

"The land behind the council will become gardens leading to the Boardwalk. The archaeological investigations are the first step in that work."

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