Record Details

NHER Number:34450
Type of record:Monument
Name:Saxon metal working site with medieval pits and inhumations, 64 Bury Road

Summary

Excavation of two evaluation trenches in 1999 recorded a small number of Late Saxon features including pits, possible ditch terminals, possible post holes, and a gully as well as three undated inhumations. The finds assemblage from the Late Saxon features included an unusually high density of iron working debris, including both smithing slag and smelting slag, hammerscale, and tuyeres. This indicates that smithing took place at the site, likely in the immediate vidinity of the excavated features. However, environmental samples from the features also indicate domestic activity in the area, with high densities of food debris including possible evidence for fish de-scaling and disposal of fodder. Monitoring of subsequent groundworks in 2000 recorded additional Late Saxon features and inhumations possibly of Late Saxon or medieval date. These features contained Late Saxon pottery and animal bone, but little additional metalworking debris.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 8681 8266
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

May 1999. Evaluation. Contexts 1-37.
Excavation of two trial trenches recorded several pits, possible ditch terminals, possible post holes, and a gully, almost all of which contained Late Saxon Thetford ware. The finds assemblage from these features included a large quantity of metalworking debris. A total of 1943 grammes of slag was hand retrieved, and an additional 227 grammes of slag and 350 grammes of hammerscale was collected from environmental samples. Smithing slag was predominant, but two pieces of tap slag from smelting and a possible slag block were also identified. 142 grammes of hammerscale was recovered from one pit fill. This large quantity indicates a proximity to the smithy itself, as it gets trodden into the ground in the vicinity of the anvil and hearth. The metalworking debris also indicated an unusually high quantity of tuyeres, which indicates a high temperature process requiring bellows if associated with iron working. However, some of these may have been associated with non-ferrous metalworking.
Other finds from the site include a bone needle, an antler tool, a chalk spindle whorl, antler waste, and post medieval to modern iron and copper alloy objects. The majority of the baked and fired clay assemblage from the site consists of structural cob or wattle and daub suggesting the presence of a building or a hearth. Environmental samples were rich in domestic debris as well as metalworking debris, indicating domestic and industrial activity in the same area. Food debris included oyster, mussel, cockle, periwinkle, wheat, barley, oats, pea/bean, hazelnut, cattle, sheep, pig, chicken, goose, bird eggshell, eel and cyprinid remains with some possible marine fish. One context produced large quantities of fish scales but few fish bones, suggesting de-scaling or skinning prior to cooking. Abundant charred cereal remains in their husks may indicate disposal of fodder in another feature.
Three inhumations were also recorded. The inhumations were all in shallow cuts, aligned west-east, and one was cut into the top of a very large pit feature. However, the inhumations were not fully excavated within the evaluation phase of the work at this site and no dating evidence was recovered.
See (S1) for further details.
See also (S4).
E. Rose (NLA) 11 May 1999.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 07 August 2008.

January - August 2000. Watching Brief. Contexts 38-58.
Monitoring of groundworks for the construction of two new buildings recorded three 10th to 12th century features in the southwest corner of the footprint for the eastern building and an undated pit within a soakaway to the south. The Late Saxon features consist of two pits and an amorphous feature, all of which contained Thetford ware. The pits also contained animal bone fragments. No artefacts were recovered from the pit within the soakaway, but it is thought likely to date to the same period.
Two in situ inhumations were recorded in service trenches on the eastern side of the site. The first is an extended east-west burial of a middle-aged adult female (about 25-50% of the skeleton was recovered). This inhumation was associated with about 10% of a skeleton of a second middle aged adult female. In addition, the disturbed remains of an elderly female (25% of the skeleton) as well as the ilium of three other individuals were recovered from the topsoil above the inhumation. The second burial was represented only by a few bones (less than 25% of the skeleton), likely of an adult male. The remainder of this inhumation had previously been disturbed by earlier service trenches. No dating evidence was recovered for the inhumations but they likely relate to a church which stood at the Gas Works east of Bury Road, about 150m south of this site (NHER 5868 and NHER 50547).
The Late Saxon features and inhumations were sealed by a layer containing early medieval to modern pottery, animal and human bone, and metal artefacts which has been interpreted as a 'transformed soil layer' in which earlier deposits and/or features are no longer visible due to either natural processes or human agricultural activities. The presence of disturbed human bone indicates movement of soil after the cemetery went out of use.
See (S2) for further details.
See also (S3).
D. Gurney (NLA) 23 February 2001.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 08 August 2008.

Monument Types

  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon to Post Medieval - 851 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GULLY (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • METAL WORKING SITE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE? (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Unknown date)
  • WIRE (Unknown date)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • OFFCUT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SLAG (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TUYERE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Post Medieval to Modern - 1540 AD to 1999 AD)
  • BUTTON (Post Medieval - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1700 AD to 1799 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPOON (Post Medieval - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1860 AD to 1874 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: JVH-JVJ.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1-49.
<S1>Unpublished document: Trimble, D.. 1999. Archaeological Project Services Report No. 63. Archaeological Evaluation at 64 Bury Road, Thetford, Norfolk..
<S2>Unpublished document: Albone, J.. 2000. Archaeological Project Services Report No. 180/00. Archaeological Watching Brief at 64 Bury Road, Thetford, Norfolk..
<S3>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 726.
<S4>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 537.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2019 Norfolk Historic Environment Service