Record Details

NHER Number:33812
Type of record:Monument
Name:Early Saxon settlement and multi period finds, Brandon Road

Summary

Archaeological investigations and excavations at this site during the period 1998-2000 recorded extensive evidence of Saxon activity and occupation as well as finds and features from earlier periods. An Early Saxon sunken-featured building was uncovered along with pits, postholes and ditches which presumably indicate the former presence of other buildings or domestic structures. It has also been claimed that a Saxon cemetery might lie in this area and have been damaged by building works, but this has not been confirmed. Earlier finds included Mesolithic/Early Neolithic and later Neolithic/Bronze Age worked flints, and Bronze Age and Roman pottery sherds.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 854 828
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

September 1998 - January 1999. Evaluation including rapid identification survey and trial trenching. Contexts 1-28 used.
Two irregularly-shaped pits were excavated in Trench 1, and one was found to contain a sherd of Middle Bronze Age pottery, tentatively dating these features to that period. No other Bronze Age features were identified during the evaluation.
A linear feature measuring up to 0.45m deep and 1.3m wide ran east-west for a distance of 9m, and may be a field or land division. It contained sherds of Roman pottery, but the feature may date from the late prehistoric period, and could be an enclosure ditch.
Earthwork banks running east-west across the centre of the site were visible on the 1884 and 1905 Ordnance Survey maps, but may be considerably earlier than the 19th century. However, their insubstantial nature suggests that they do not represent a major boundary, but may instead have been constructed to delineate the area immediately to the north of the Chestnut Belt when the trees were first planted.
A large ditch recorded in Trench 5, to the east of the site, is probably a land or field boundary. A similar feature recorded in Trench 7 may be a continuation of this ditch, which is on the same alignment as fields shown on the early Ordnance Survey maps of this area.
Finds recovered during the evaluation included 16 worked flints the majority of which are unmodified flakes and flake fragments. These pieces, including a possible piercer and a crude scraper, were mostly of probable later Neolithic or Bronze Age date. The exception is a small blade fragment of possible Mesolithic or Early Neolithic date. Two fragments of burnt flint were also found.
Bronze Age, Roman and Middle Saxon pottery sherds were also recovered.
See (S1) for further details.
See also (S5).
E. Rose (NLA), 19 February 1999 and A. Cattermole (NLA), 14 July 2008.

March 1999. Excavation. Contexts 30-82 used.
The earliest activity on this site was represented by a small assemblage of 26 worked flints, the majority of which were flakes. The assemblage is most likely predominantly of Mesolithic or Early Neolithic date, with most of the pieces showing evidence of being soft-hammer struck. Notable pieces included a retouched blade that could be described as an "irregular microlith" and a probable core rejuvenation flake.
The northernmost trench contained eight ditches, an Early Saxon sunken-featured building and numerous isolated pits and post-holes. No diagnostic material other than worked flints was recovered from the ditch fills, but the southern group are presumed to date from the late prehistoric or Roman periods. Roman pottery was recovered from the largest and latest ditch within the group, a feature which was also recorded during the evaluation (see above).
The Early Saxon sunken-featured building produced an assemblage of pottery, animal bone, fired clay objects and a fragment of a decorated glass vessel, all believed to date from the 5th to 6th centuries AD. The fragment of glass is believed to be part of a claw beaker; the distribution of finds of these vessels is extremely sparse in East Anglia, and is largely confined to graves.
See (S2) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 3 November 2000 and A. Cattermole (NLA), 14 July 2008.

September 1999. NAU watching brief.
Two linear features were recorded. They are comparable to a series of Roman field or boundary ditches discovered during excavations at the site (see above) and other sites close by.
Three sherds of unstratified pottery were recovered including two handmade Early Saxon sherds and a single sherd of Ipswich ware.
See (S3) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 3 November 2000 and A. Cattermole (NLA), 14 July 2008.

May-June 2000.
Local reports of illegal detecting and contractors 'bulldozing a Saxon cemetery'. The builders [1] are aware of the former, but have no knowledge of the latter. An Anglo-Saxon spearhead, probably from this site reported by [2] to Moyses Hall Museum. Not yet seen.
See note in file.
D. Gurney (NLA) 7 June 2000.

January 2006. Evaluation, recorded in error under NHER 42881, from context 1.
Excavations revealed no archaeological finds or features.
See (S4) for details.
A. Cattermole (NLA) 12 February 2007.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • PIT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • PIT (Middle Bronze Age - 1600 BC to 1001 BC)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • GRUBENHAUS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • PIT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • STAKE HOLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • NAIL (Undated)
  • BURNT FLINT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BURNT FLINT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • DEBITAGE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • CORE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • RETOUCHED BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BORER? (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Middle Bronze Age - 1600 BC to 1001 BC)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BEAKER (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • LOOMWEIGHT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SPEAR (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • VESSEL (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: Various. 1999. KJC.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Unpublished document: Brennand, M.. 1999. NAU Report No. 382. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation at Brandon Road, Thetford..
<S2>Unpublished document: Brennand, M.. 2000. NAU Report No. 412. Report on an Archaeological Excavation at Brandon Road, Thetford..
<S3>Unpublished document: Birks, C.. 2000. NAU Report No. 446. Report on a Watching Brief at Brandon Road, Thetford..
<S4>Unpublished document: Ratcliff, M.. 2006. NAU Archaeology Report No. 1140. An Archaeological Evaluation at Land off A134, Brandon Road Junction, Thetford, Norfolk..
<S5>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 383.

Related records - none

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