Record Details

NHER Number:35165
Type of record:Monument
Name:Neolithic/Bronze Age pits, hearths and flint working site, and Iron Age settlement site

Summary

Archaeological work on this site between 2000 and 2002 uncovered a Mid-to-Late Iron Age settlement, along with evidence for less intensive activity during earlier and later periods. The earliest finds recovered were a small number of residual Mesolithic and Mesolithic/Early Neolithic flints, although it appears that the bulk of the flints recovered were of later date. The flint assemblage points to flint working on the site in the Neolithic and/or the Bronze Age, and a number of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age pits and hearths were also identified.
Activity clearly intensified during the Iron Age and the majority of the excavated features appeared to date to this period. These included post-holes, four-post structures, pits and a possible midden. A number of ditches, including several that appeared to found a rectangular enclosure, were also though to be Iron Age, although the dating evidence was sparse and it is possible that they related to a subsequent phase of activity. Although the majority of the features appeared to be of Mid-to-Late Iron Age date, one pit produced a transitional pottery assemblage dating to the mid 1st century AD. Significantly, this pit also produced the remains of six butchered rabbits, a species normally though to have been introduced during the Norman period. There was only very limited evidence for subsequent, Roman period activity on the site and only a single ditch fragment appeared to be of this date. A ditch and a pit, both modern, were the only post-Roman features, suggesting the site saw little in the way of activity during more recent times.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 82 94
Map Sheet:TL89SW
Parish:STANFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Extention to Lynford Quarry.

1987-1992.
Westernmost part of this site in use as a wet log store for timber harvested from Forestry Commission forests in Norfolk and Suffolk following the great gale of 1987. The wood was stored under a continuous sprinkler system, apparently the first type such a system had been used in this country. See letter and copies of aerial photographs (S1) in file. This note was previously recorded (in error) under NHER 37905.
J. Allen (NLA). Amended by P. Watkins (HES), April 29 2013.

March 2000. Trial Trench Evaluation.
Contexts 1-166. 22 trenches excavated.
The eastern trenches exposed a scatter of Neolithic and/or Bronze Age flint working debris (see below). The western trenches uncovered a number of Iron Age pits.
1529 struck flint pieces and 18 burnt flint pieces were recovered. Struck flints comprised flakes, cores, spalls and shattered pieces. A few tool types were identified; scrapers, knives, borer, hammerstones etc. Most Neolithic/Bronze Age but some blades are potentially earlier in date, perhaps Mesolithic.
A large number of Iron Age pottery sherds (over 750) were retrieved, and these came from bowls, jars and undiagnosed forms. Some had incised, stabbed or burnished decorations - comparable to other Middle/Late Iron Age assemblages from the county (see for example NHER 13025 and 13023). A large, semi-complete clay loomweight was also felt to be of Iron Age date. Animal bones and cereal processing waste were also retrieved from contexts of probable Iron Age date.
The site was interpreted as a seasonal flint working area during the Neolithic/Bronze Age and an occupation area during the Iron Age. See report (S2) in file for full details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 18 August 2000, and T. Sunley (NLA), 26 November 2007. Minor amendments by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

2000-2001. Watching Brief and Excavation.
In March 2000 the westernmost part of the site was subject to an Watching Brief, which identified a small number of archaeologically significant features. This was followed by the excavation of a specific area between January and February 2001; this final phase of work targeting the main concentration of Iron Age features identified during the earlier evaluation.

Potentially the earliest feature to be identifed was a substantial palaeochannel, which ran across much of the larger Watching Brief area. This contained no datable finds.

Two Mesolithic microliths were the earliest finds recovered, although the majority of the 500 worked flints recovered are of Neolithic to Bronze Age date. It was however noted that many of the blades recovered were soft-hammer struck and narrow, indicative of a Mesolithic or Early Neolithic date. One of the microliths is illustrated in (S5).

A small number of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age pits and hearths were also identified, one of which produced an assemblage of Beaker pottery. Radiocarbon dating confirmed a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date for several of these features, while others were tentatively assigned to this period of activity on the basis of the worked flints they produced. Fints likely to be Neolithic or Bronze Age included cores, flakes, blades, scrapers and a number of retouched pieces. A Neolithic groundstone axe was also recovered, which appeared to have been reused as a hammerstone.

The bulk of the features identified were of Iron Age date, providing clear evidence for the presence of some form of settlement on the site at this time. These features included post holes, remains of four post structures, pits and a possible midden. Several parallel ditches and what appeared to be the fragmentary remains of an enclosure were also ascribed an Iron Age date, although it should be noted that the dating evidence was extremely limited.
Although the majority of these features were of probable Mid-to-Late Iron Age, one pit produced a transitional pottery assemblage of Late Iron Age to Early Roman date. This pit also produced the butchered remains of six rabbits; a particularly significant discovery given that rabbits have been traditionally seen as being introduced to the country in Norman times. A number of the other Iron Age features also produced quantities of animal bone, the majority of which appears to have been butchery and food waste. Plant macrofossil assemblages were also recovered from a number of Iron Age features, with the material present generally suggestive of domestic waste (although a small amount of cereal processing debris was also present).

There was little evidence for Roman period activity, with the bulk of the small Roman finds assemblage being recovered from a single truncated field boundary ditch. Evidence for post-Roman activity was similarly scarce, limited to a modern pit and a ditch. A number of undated features were also excavated, including fourteen post holes, fourteen pits and a ditch. Several natural features were also present, several of which produced worked flints.

See file for Watching Brief report (S3) and draft (S4) of the final publication (S5). This work was also reported in (S6) and (S7). Also see file for copy of article on the discovery of the 1st century rabbit remains (S8).

T. Sunley (NLA), 26 November 2007. Amended and expanded by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Unknown date)
  • NATURAL FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • PALAEOCHANNEL (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Mesolithic - 7000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC WORKING SITE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • HEARTH (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • PIT (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • HEARTH (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • DITCH (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • PIT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • PIT (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Undated)
  • BURNT FLINT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BURNT FLINT (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?)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • MICROLITH (Late Mesolithic - 7000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • AWL (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • AXE TRIMMING FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BORER (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • CORE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • CORE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • DEBITAGE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • DEBITAGE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • KNIFE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • LOOMWEIGHT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RING (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • POT (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • VESSEL (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Aerial Photograph: Griggs, B.. 1987. Former wet log store, adjacent to Lynford Quarry.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. May 2000. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation at Lynford Gravel Pit, Mundford. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 499.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Birks, C.. Apr 2001. NAU Report No. 575. Archaeological watching brief at Lynford Gravel Pit, Mundford..
<S4>Unpublished Document: Birks, C. and Robertson, D.. Mar 2004. NAU Report No. 919. A Mid to Late Iron Age settlement at Stanford. Excavations at Lynford quarry, 2000-2001..
<S5>Article in Serial: Birks, C. and Robertson, D.. 2005. Prehistoric Settlement at Stanford, Excavations at Lynford Quarry, Norfolk, 2000-2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 676-701.
<S6>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 175.
<S7>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 724.
<S8>Article in Serial: Pitts, M.. 2006. Unearthing the ancestral rabbit.. British Archaeology. Vol 86. p 7.

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