Record Details

NHER Number:21397
Type of record:Monument
Name:Early Saxon settlement site, Hirdling Field


In 1985 this site was the only Early Saxon site recorded in the Norfolk Fens. It is situated on an area of Iron Age silt deposition, on the silted-up course of the Aylmer Hall Roman canal. A scatter of handmade pottery sherds provided the initial evidence, and excavation was undertaken in 1985. Unfortunately no features were noted, and only a small number of pottery sherds recovered. However a number of Iron Age creeks and gullies were recorded.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 5649 1372
Map Sheet:TF51SE

Full description

18 March 1985. Fieldwalking on well weathered ploughsoil.
Context 1: odd sherds medieval pottery over field, particularly in south and on roddons. TYL BL.
Finds in NCM.
R. J. Silvester (NAU), 18 March 1985.

18 March 1985.
Context 2 at 5650 1366: small scatter Early Saxon pottery and few fragments of bone. Also a few medieval sherds. On top of larger straight roddon which must be partially artificial (ie a canal (Context 3)) pre Saxon. Few pebbles and small stones. TYL 19.
Finds in NCM.
R. Silvester (NAU), 20 March 1985
Archive notes twenty-one Early Saxon sherds, fifty-eight medieval and one Late Saxon.

For context 3 now see NHER 25333.
Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), 10 July 1989.

1989-1990. Further fieldwork during Fenland Evaluation Project
Site rewalked to recover more Early Saxon sherds. Few were found, but those found were individually plotted, as in the original Survey.
Dossier prepared for English Heritage. Copy in file.
M. Leah (NLA), August 1990.

September 1992. Excavation.
Grid of test holes excavated for Fenland Management Project to establish that Early Saxon site is on top of Roman canal. Ditch with medieval sherds found. Post medieval disturbance, as this site appears to have been ploughed out.
See publication (S2) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S3) and (S4).
Compiled by M. Leah (NAU), 16 July 1993 amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 03 July 2013.

Two post medieval drains.
Ditch with medieval pottery and one Early Saxon sherd, cut earlier silt-filled linear features, probably natural Iron Age gullies.
Compiled by J. Allen (NLA).

For full details of all Fenland Survey work including wares, flint types, etc. see Fenland Folders (S1).

Monument Types

  • CANAL (Unknown date)
  • FEATURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRAIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • SAMPLE (Undated)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MUSKET BALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---*Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. TYL 19. FENS.
---*Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. TYL BL. FENS.
---Photograph: FVY.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Archive: Fenland Folders.
<S2>Monograph: Crowson, A., Lane, T. and Reeve, J. (eds). 2000. Fenland Management Project Excavations 1991-1995. Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series. No 3. pp 167, 211-213.
<S3>Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S., Margeson, S. and Hurley, M. 1993. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1992. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XXXVII pp 240-313. p 277.
<S4>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1993. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1992. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt IV pp 522-532. p 531.

Related records - none

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