Record Details

NHER Number:31773
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of medieval inhumation cemetery, Ghost Island Junction, Ormesby Bypass


An excavation carried out by the NAU in 1996 in advance of the construction of a new road revealed an inhumation cemetery of medieval date. Sixty graves were excavated, all orientated east-west and without any grave goods. The cemetery is probably associated with St Andrew's church. The skeletons were reburied on the village green in 2001.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4883 1481
Map Sheet:TG41SE

Full description

February 1996. Fieldwork by NAU in advance of road diversion.
Areas of clay resembling floors or house platforms.
H. Wallis (NAU) 15 February 1996.

1996. Excavation.
The discovery of human bones during construction works led to excavation for Engineering Services (NCC), of part of a closely-spaced cemetery, including its probable southern boundary.
Sixty graves were excavated, all aligned approximately west to east, and containing unaccompanied burials.

Four features were identified which were cut by the burials. These were three pits and a hearth, all located at the north-west of the site. Some small and abraded sherds were recovered, of early prehistoric, Iron Age and medieval date.

In total, 60 graves were excavated, some of which were extremely shallow. The burials were aligned west-east and none of the individuals had been buried with grave goods. The articulated remains represent a minimum of 45 adults (18 male and 27 female) and 17 children, with other remains representing a further 4 adults and 6 children. Observed pathologies include leprosy and possibly tuberculosis.

Two graves to the south of the site contained sherds of Late Saxon Thetford-type ware, and seven contained sherds of medieval pottery. All of the burials were supine, and in all except one, there was a single body in each grave. One grave contained three skeletons buried at the same time. Two samples of human bone were submitted for radiocarbon dating, but because of the marine content of the diets of these individuals, several interpretations of the radiocarbon data are possible, producing an earliest date of c. 1000 AD and a latest date of c. 1290AD for one individual and an earliest date of c. 1220 AD and a latest date of c. 1630 AD for the other. The skeletal remains are typical of a medieval rural population, and it is likely that this was a cemetery associated with a church, possibly the church of St Andrew (demolished 1368-84).

Three features which post-dated the cemetery were also identified, including two ditches and a pit.

See published report (S1) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S2) and (S3). See also newspaper article (S4) and draft report (S5).
H. Wallis (NAU), 1997. Expanded by A. Cattermole (NLA), 9 June 2009.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 1 July 2016.

Human remains reinterred.
See newspaper articles (S6) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 1 July 2016.

Monument Types

  • FLOOR (Unknown date)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM (Unknown date)
  • (Former Type) INHUMATION CEMETERY (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon to 17th Century - 1000 AD to 1630 AD)
  • INHUMATION CEMETERY (Late Saxon to 16th Century - 1000 AD to 1600 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2015. Bid to refurbish memorial stone. 25 July.
<S1>Monograph: Wallis, H. and Anderson, S. 2009. A Medieval Cemetery at Mill Lane, Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 130.
<S2>Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S., Haith, C. and Bradley, J. 1997. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1996. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XLI pp 241-328. p 279.
<S3>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 557.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Graveyard gives up its secrets. 4 April.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Wallis, H. 2006. A Medieval Cemetery at Mill Lane, Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk. Draft for East Anglian Archaeology. NAU Archaeology. 1156.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2001. [Articles on the skeletons found in 1996].

Related records - none

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