Despite some records mentioning the existence of St Peter's Chapel in the distant past, researchers could not find any traces of the edifice, which was dismantled at the time of the Reformation. Now, according to a report in the Eastern Daily Press, thanks to modern technology, a team of specialists and volunteers from all over the country has unearthed the foundation of the mediaeval building along with human remains. Working with Steve Brown, a metal detectorist, professional archaeologists John Shepherd and Michael de Bootman identified the site to the west of West Acre and started digging at the end of last month.
"He (Steve) noticed the slightest traces of mortar adhering to pieces of flint in a field near St Peter's pit and Michael and I followed up this sighting with a radar survey of the field," said Shepherd.
"The results were spectacular. Not only did they locate the building, but the radar showed that it survived in very good condition and was quite large - not a simple cell or room but something that resembled a small church," he added.
The specialists, who were joined by 25 volunteers from all over the country, opened up a trench that revealed the outline of the building in its entirety. It measured almost 7m wide and 24m long.
"It was probably built in the early 12th century and underwent a number of changes in ground plan," said Shepherd.
Finds included a number of coins from the mediaeval period, window glass and the lead that held it in place, pottery and iron nails from the interior of the building.
They have also found a human skeleton and believe there might be at least another five who were buried in the grounds of the chapel.
According to Shepherd, "One particularly exciting find is a large section of the south wall of the church which collapsed inwards, probably when the building was being dismantled for building materials in the 16th century.
"We have also found small pilgrim badges which indicates that the place was visited by pilgrims on their way to Walsingham," he said.