Record Details

NHER Number:23181
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Roman saltern in conjoined fields southwest of Manor Farm, Blackborough End


A late 3rd to early 4th century Roman saltern was excavated in 1991 after detailed fieldwalking and an auger traverse had established the presence of a saltern. An artificial mound of briquetage surrounded a sophisticated evaporation oven, and other evaporation ovens and settling tanks were found to the northwest of the mound. Over 11,000 pieces of briquetage were recovered from the site, which was probably industrial (rather than domestic) in its scale.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6551 1459
Map Sheet:TF61SE

Full description

9 December 1986. Fenland fieldwalking on well weathered soil.
Context 1 scatter flints and odd U sherds. MDT AH.
Context 2 at 6540 1470 concentration pot boilers, sparse, medium in one place, one undated sherd, ?associated. No flint. On very gentle slope to east.Sandy soil. 31m north to south x 24m east to west at 5.5m OD. MDT 2.
Context 3 at 6551 1457 concentration of moderate pot boilers but no flint. Concentration indicates fresh disturbance by plough. On south facing slope. 23m east to west x 36m north to south at 4.9m OD. MDT 3.
Context 4 at 6550 1440. Mound, with pot and fired clay spread over top. Date as yet uncertain. Mound about 68m north to south x 48m east to west. Debris more in southern part over 46m x 48m. Mound about 1m high, on mineral soil edge. MDT 4.
R. Silvester (NAU) 12 December 1986

For full details of wares, flint types, etc. see (S1).

Some of the material from Context 4 has been reidentified as Roman pottery; and some from Context 1 as medieval pottery.

1989 to 1990. Fenland Evaluation Project.
Further work at Context 4, now identified as Roman saltern.
Auger traverse across the mound; samples of briquetage and firebars collected.
Dossier prepared for HBMC, see (S2) in file.
M.D. Leah (NAU), August 1990

1991. Excavation of elaborate Roman salt boiling establishment.
Preliminary report in (S3) and a more detailed account is given in (S4). See also (S5) in file.
E. Rose (NLA) 22 February 1993.

Contexts 5 to 597.
An artificial mound of accumulated briquetage was encircled by an interrupted ditch. In the centre of the mound a sophisticated, but plough damaged, evaporation oven survived with a clay lined, longitudinal flue and stoke holes at either end and a settling tank. A second oven overlaid the first, and two further evaporation ovens and settling tanks were found to the north west of the mound. Over 11,000 pieces of briquetage were recovered from the excavation. The site was dated to the later 3rd century to early 4th century.
See (S6).
J. Allen (NLA), 15 September 2000.

Monument Types

  • MOUND (Unknown date)
  • HEARTH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MOUND (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • OVEN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SALT WORKS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SALTERN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SETTLING TANK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Undated)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Undated)
  • POLLEN (Undated)
  • POT (Undated)
  • SAMPLE (Undated)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT BOILER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRACELET (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • KILN FURNITURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POLLEN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: XA-XE.
---Aerial Photograph: TF6514 A-P,Q-X,Y-AK.
---Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. MDT 2. FENS.
---Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. MDT 3. FENS.
---Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. MDT 4. FENS.
---Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. MDT AH. FENS.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Vertical Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1991. NHER TF6514/AH/LZ (EDWARDS), 10-DEC-1991.
<S1>Archive: Fenland Folders.
<S2>Unpublished document: Leah, M. D. (NAU) and Mathews, M. (NAU). 1990. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission Dossier.
<S3>Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1992. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 1991. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt III pp 371-379. p 374.
<S4>Publication: Leah, M.. 1992. Fenland Research. pp 49-53.
<S5>Unpublished document: Fenland Management Project, Norfolk, Excavations at Middleton Saltern Mound, Archive Summary.
<S6>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, 205-211.

Related records - none

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