The 1st volume of the Journal of Breckland Studies was published in 2017, and is still downloadable here. Published by the Breckland Society as part of the HLF Breaking New Ground landscape partnership scheme, it contains six papers presenting the latest research on a range of Brecks-related subjects, from military heritage and Palaeolithic archaeology to Goshawks and the diary of a 19th-century amateur natural historian.
- September 2018 -
Oxford Archaeology East, 15 Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, UK
A recent excavation on the site of a Second World War prisoner of war camp near Eriswell uncovered elements related to both the guards’ and prisoners’ compounds. Using a combination of archaeological evidence, contemporary records and oral history, this investigation has offered a glimpse of daily life within the camp and the relationship with the local community. Very few camps have survived since their closure from the middle of 1948, highlighting the importance of archaeology in understanding this fast-disappearing aspect of Britain’s wartime and early postwar history.
Grasshoppers are a key group of invertebrates in Breckland due to their importance in the food chain as primary consumers. Six sites were surveyed in September 2013 to classify the assemblage. Species richness was low (2.5 species/ha) in comparison to the Sandlings in Suffolk. However, the chalk heath assemblage was unique to the Brecks, with Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus and Stripe-winged Grasshopper Stenobothrus lineatus co-dominant. Breckland grasshoppers should benefit from conservation management measures involving soil disturbance (particularly Mottled Grasshopper Myrmeleotettix maculatus), such as the rotavation of lichen heath and the maintenance of open areas in conifer plantations.
The Breckland Society, Beck Springs, Beckett End, Foulden, Norfolk IP28 5AF, UK
A rare surviving example of a once common feature in the British agricultural landscape, the Beachamwell shepherd hut was built over a century ago. Sympathetically conserving it – by undertaking a minimum of physical work to save its structure and character – has helped shed light on the history of shepherd huts in general and on the heritage of shepherding in the Brecks. This paper describes the approach that was taken with the conservation of the hut, as well as how adding further interpretative details has helped bring the structure to life for people wishing to understand how a shepherd once used it.
Historically the Breckland heaths were noted for their very significant populations of lichens, which included species not found elsewhere in the British Isles. However, since c.1986 these communities have declined catastrophically and are now effectively extinct. This paper documents their loss over the last 30 years, detailing the rate of decline in terms of distribution and numbers at particular sites, as well as assessing other factors such as the importance of grazing. In particular, it discusses the direct and indirect effects of nitrogen deposition as the main cause of the disappearance.
It is commonly assumed that the landscape of Breckland was largely devoid of woodland until the first half of the twentieth century, and particularly before the advent of the Forestry Commission. This paper discusses the extensive plantations established during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the large estates that dominated the district, and the reasons for such large-scale planting of trees.
1 British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, UK
2 The Breckland Society, Beck Springs, Beckett End, Foulden, Norfolk IP28 5AF, UK
In this paper we present the findings of the five-year Breckland Bat Project (2013–17). Covering 25% of the Brecks and with fieldwork largely carried out by Breckland Society volunteers, the project survey generated over 200,000 bat recordings. Along with a wider dataset from Norfolk and Suffolk approaching two million recordings, it has improved our understanding of all bat species in the region. We show that the Brecks is particularly notable for Leisler’s Bat, Barbastelle, Serotine, Daubenton’s Bat, Brown long-eared Bat, Natterer’s Bat and Soprano Pipistrelle. We also conclude that with logistical support it is possible for the public to contribute to acoustic bat monitoring on an unprecedented scale.
"A publication which presents the latest research on the fascinating region in an accessible and engaging way"
- Professor Tom Williamson
At this stage potential contributors are invited to submit an outline summary of up to 200 words, explaining the scope and content of their proposed paper, including a working title and an indication of potential illustrations. Proposed papers must not have been published previously, whether wholly or in part, and must be the original work of the contributor.
One of the objectives of the JBS is to encourage participation in research into the heritage of the Brecks by its local communities. Publishing a paper in JBS can enhance the value of ‘citizen science’ projects by enabling findings to be published, so that the results reach a wider audience. We also welcome proposals from those with little or no experience of writing about heritage – all that is required is enthusiasm and knowledge of a particular subject or interest! If your proposal is accepted support and guidance in writing your paper can be provided by a mentor from the Editorial Panel.
Equally, proposals from experienced, published researchers are also valued. Every proposal will be judged on its merits, and the Editorial Panel will also consider the range and balance of papers in each volume of the Journal. As the JBS is a not-for-profit publication, with all financial support and sales income reinvested in future volumes, proposals from institutions or projects with funding available are especially welcome.
Outline summaries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 4 January 2019. They will then be considered by the JBS Editorial Panel, comprising experts on the Brecks and chaired by Professor Tom Williamson of the History Department at the University of East Anglia, with a decision by the end of January on which papers (up to eight in total) will be accepted for submission; the deadline for receipt of these will be 31 March 2019. The final report will be published in autumn 2019.
To discuss your ideas, or for further information, please contact Pat Reynolds via email at email@example.com
Visit http://www.breakingnewground.org.uk/our-projects/a-window-into-the-past/journal-of-breckland-studies for more information on the JBS project