Record Details

NHER Number:37396
Type of record:Monument
Name:Undated pits and ditches and Mesolithic/Neolithic, Iron Age and post-Roman finds

Summary

Several pits and ditches of unknown date were revealed during trial trenching carried out by the NAU in 2002, in advance of carstone extraction. The evaluation also recovered prehistoric flints (including some Mesolithic/Early Neolithic pieces) and small amounts of medieval and post medieval pottery and building materials. A subsequent strip map and sample excavation carried out by APS in 2003 revealed a series of shallow undated pits. The majority of these had heat-scorched bases and although there was no direct evidence for there function it is possible that they were associated with some form of small-scale industy, such as charcoal production. A number of ditches were also identified, these appearing to form a pair of adjoining enclosures. Unfortunately these features also produced no dating evidence. A small number of Mesolithic/Neolithic worked flints were also found and several sherds of Iron Age pottery were recovered from a sandy layer in the corner of the site (most likely colluvial).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 67198 14477
Map Sheet:TF61SE
Parish:MIDDLETON, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

October to November 2002. NAU fieldwalking and metal detecting survey (Contexts 1-30) and trial trench evaluation (Contexts 31 to 87).

Forty-one pieces of prehistoric struck flint were recovered during the fieldwalking. Two concentrations of material were identified, one at the western side of the site and one towards the south east corner. In both locations the flint was of a mixed nature and no readily datable pieces were present. A small number of blades and blade-like flakes may however be Early Neolithic. Other finds included 2 sherds of medieval pottery, 4 post-medieval sherds, 4 late medieval brick/tile fragments and 27 assorted pieces of post-medieval ceramic building material. The metal objects found were all of late post-medieval or modern date and of little interest.

The 8 trial trenches excavated revealed only a limited number of archaeologically significant features. Two heavily-truncated pits were exposed close to one of the flint concentrations identified during the fieldwalking, although these produced little other than tiny fragments of fired clay and charcoal. Two ditches were excavated in a trench in the north-eastern part of the site but these also produced no finds. A thick sandy layer exposed in the south-western part of the site was though to be colluvial. This deposit produced a small number of prehistoric worked flints. A total of 18 worked flints were found during this phase of work, including a patinated blade of possible Mesolithic or Early Neolithic date. Other finds included a single sherd of post-medieval pottery, 2 fragments of medieval brick, 2 post-medieval bricks, tiny pieces of fired clay, a possible iron knife blade and an iron scale tang knife blade.

See report for further details (S1). This work was also noted in (S2).
J. Allen (NLA), 10 February 2003. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 November 2013.

September 2003. APS strip, map and sample excavation. Contexts 100 to 180.
The work revealed a number of archaeologically significant features, although, as during the earlier evaluation, their interpretation was hampered by the paucity of dating evidence. At least nineteen relatively shallow undated sub-circular pits were identified, 14 of which displayed signs of scorching (a further three ploughed out possible examples were also identified. Several of the other pits did not display scorching. The function of these pits is not clear, particularly as the environmental samples taken produced little in the way of plant macrofossils (apart from charcoal). Clusters of similar features have now been exposed beneath marginal sandy soils in many parts of the county. Although a prehistoric date is invariable tentatively suggested it is possible that these features were actually associated with small-scale charcoal production, an activity that continued into the Saxon period and beyond. This site lies in an area in which iron smelting occurred during several periods and it is therefore possible to speculate that these features were associated with such an industry; either lying beneath charcoal clamps or being used to roast ore.

The other features identified during this work included several undated ditches that appeared to form a pair of enclosures. The sandy layer identified during the evaluation was also investigated, with several sherds of Iron Age pottery recovered. As this layer is most likely colluvial this material was potential derived from the sloping ground to the north. A small assemblage of worked was also recovered during this work, providing some further evidence for Mesolithic/Neolithic activity in the area. Other finds were limited to burnt flints/stone, and iron nail and a single sheep rib.

See assement report (S3) and final report (S4) for further details. This work was also noted in (S5).
J. Allen (NLA), 16 February 2006. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 November 2013.

Monument Types

  • CHARCOAL BURNERS SITE? (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • PIT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • KNIFE (Unknown date)
  • KNIFE? (Unknown date)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Undated)
  • XFIRED CLAY (Unknown date)
  • AWL (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BORER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BURIN SPALL (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BURNT FLINT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • END SCRAPER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RETOUCHED BLADE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • BLADE (Late Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 7000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKE (Late Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 7000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RETOUCHED BLADE (Late Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 7000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Late Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 7000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NAIL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NAIL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136. p 129.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Unpublished document: Bates, S.. 2003. NAU Report No. 781. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation at Land off Mill Drove, Blackborough, Middleton, Norfolk.. January.
<S2>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2003. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 368-384. p 375.
<S3>Unpublished document: Trimble, R.. 2005. Archaeological Project Services Report No. 183/05. Archaeological Excavation on land at Mill Drove, Blackborough End, Middleton, Norfolk. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design.. November.
<S4>Unpublished document: Trimble, R.. 2005. Archaeological Project Services Report No. 52/05. Archaeological Excavation on land at Mill Drove, Blackborough End, Middleton, Norfolk.. March.
<S5>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 581.

Related records - none

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