Record Details

NHER Number:1134
Type of record:Monument
Name:Mesolithic findspot, Roman farmstead or settlement, Late Saxon inhumation and medieval to post medieval occupation debris

Summary

This site was excavated in 1990 prior to redevelopment. The excavation revealed a late Roman settlement or farmstead, including corn driers, a possible granary and post-built structures, as well as the skeletal remains of a child. The area was subsequently abandoned until the 10th century when a structure, several small pits and a large hearth or oven were laid out. A single inhumation and some disarticulated human bone may hint at the presence of a previously unknown Late Saxon cemetery in this area. Later medieval and post-medieval evidence largely comprises rubbish and cess pits, indicating that this area was used for waste disposal by properties fronting St Nicholas' Street. The site was possibly also the location of a 19th century maltings. Other finds recovered included a small assemblage of predominantly Mesolithic struck flints and sherds of Iron Age pottery.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 86 83
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Listed 19th century Malting, St Nicholas' Street, demolished 1974, together with medieval street frontages.
S. Dunmore, April 1974.

It would appear that this should have read, 19th century houses with reused medieval carved stone built into them. These are visible in the photograph in (S1) and in 1975 Alison Maddock was trying to find what had happened to them.
E. Rose (NLA), 6 January 1997.

Local people expressed doubt as to whether the building had ever actually been used as a malting.
Information from A. Maddock (Thetford Museum).

1990. Excavation.
Revealed Roman pits, postholes, two corndriers and female inhumation with iron buckle and bone pin.
Middle Saxon pottery and coin and disc brooch.
Twenty Late Saxon pits and gullies; Thetford Ware and 10th century coins. One inhumation and human bone may show presence of a church.
Fifty medieval pits and wells and stone foundations of building.
Post medieval structures and pits.
Finds held by NCM.
See press cuttings (S2)-(S5) in file and summary interim report (S6).

A detailed account of this work was subsequently published in (S7), which shows some reinterpretation of the excavation results.
The earliest finds from the site were a small number of prehistoric worked flints. This assemblage included a Mesolithic tranchet axe and a number of other piece of Mesolithic character, including blades, blade segments and two microlithic retouched blades.
Two possible Iron Age sherds were recovered from later features.
The first evidence for occupation dates from the 3rd to 4th centuries AD, including post holes, ditches, pits and two corn driers discovered on the eastern side of the site. These together form a small Romano-British settlement or farmstead which extended further to the north-east, outside the area of excavation. A child burial was found on the edge of this settlement.
After this Roman phase of occupation, the site appears to have been abandoned until the 10th century, when a post-hole structure, several small pits and a large hearth or oven were laid out. A single inhumation may suggest a previously unknown, small Late Saxon cemetery in this area. The relative paucity of Late Saxon features suggests that occupation in this area was much less dense than on the south bank of the river, and perhaps became established up to a century later.
A large number of pits dating from the 11th and 12th centuries show that this area became more built-up at this time, corresponding with a decline on the south bank of the river.
Subsequent pit groups dating from the 13th and 14th centuries are likely to have been associated with properties fronting St Nicholas' Street.
Property boundaries appear to have been maintained in the 15th and 16th centuries, though the pit density was much reduced, probably reflecting a decline in occupation. Chalk and flint wall footings, floors, a well and a cess pit associated with one or more structures of this date were found.
Post-medieval occupation is indicated by fragmentary remains of 17th and 18th century structures.
Many medieval metal finds. Post medieval structures include kiln.
Also found Iron Age sherds.
See (S3) for further information and (S7) for short summary.
E. Rose (NLA) 4 October 1999, amended by A. Cattermole (NLA), 20 August 2008 and P. Watkins (HES), 1 July 2013.

E. Rose (NLA), 24 February 1992.

1991. St Nicholas' Car Park.
Roman coin AD 270-290.
See list in file
Identified by D. Gurney (NLA).
Information from member of the public [1].
W. Milligan (NCM), 1 May 1991.

Press cuttings in file



Lead Thor's hammer pendant, not published in (S3), identified by T. Pestell (NCM) amongst material in NCM. Small find 465 from context 904.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 7 June 2005.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CORN DRYING KILN (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • GRANARY? (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 200 AD to 399 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon to Post Medieval - 651 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHURCH? (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DITCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HEARTH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION CEMETERY (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CESS PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KILN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MALTINGS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • TRANCHET AXEHEAD (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • BOW BROOCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRACELET (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CHISEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DOOR FITTING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ECOFACTS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • INTAGLIO (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLATE BROOCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PUNCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STEELYARD WEIGHT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SPEAR (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BROOCH (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • COIN (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • CUP (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • VESSEL (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BALANCE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CEREMONIAL OBJECT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COIN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ECOFACTS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HOOKED TAG (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • MINIATURE OBJECT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PENDANT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARROWHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BALANCE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARREL PADLOCK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BIRD REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ECOFACTS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GOUGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HECKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOOK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LACE TAG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOULD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PAINTED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PARCHMENT PRICKER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POKER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PUNCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SAW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STYLUS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COMB (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLUTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOKEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1990. NHER TL 8683AQ (NLA 258/DZS10) 17-MAY-1990.
---Archive: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1991. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1990. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt II pp 240-246. p 244.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8683AR-AU (NLA 246/DUC15, DUD1-3) 04-SEP-1989.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1990. NHER TL 8683AW-ABA (NLA 258/DZS9-14) 17-MAY-1990.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1990. NHER TL 8683ABB-ABH (NLA 258/DZY1-7) 17-MAY-1990.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8683ACB-ACD (NLA 223/DHS8-10) 15-JUN-1989.
---Article in Monograph: Hutton MacDonald, R. 1999. Animal Bones from St Nicholas' Street and Guildhall Street. Excavations in Thetford, North of the River, 1989-90. East Anglian Archaeology. Andrews, P. and Penn, K. No 87 pp 75-82.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Andrews, P. 1991. Summary Report of Excavations at St. Nicholas' Street, Thetford, March-October 1990. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 82.
---Photograph: FQF-FQQ, CAQ 12-23, FVF.
<S1>Monograph: Osborne, D.. 1996. Thetford: A Century Remembered. From 1900 to the present day.. p 10.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Saxon remains hope for new dig. 13 February.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Big dig yields clues to the past. 16 October.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Skeleton found. 24 October.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Street dates to 6000 BC. 27 April.
<S7>Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S., Margeson, S. and Hurley, M. 1991. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1990. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XXXV pp 126-238. p178.
<S7>Article in Monograph: Andrews, P. 1999. Excavations at St Nicholas' Street, 1990, Site 1134. Excavations in Thetford, North of the River, 1989-90. East Anglian Archaeology. Andrews, P. and Penn, K. No 87 pp 12-65. pp 12-55.

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