Record Details

NHER Number:39457
Type of record:Monument
Name:Roman enclosure and field system and Saxon metalworking site, Police House Field

Summary

An evaluation in 2003 in advance of gravel extraction revealed evidence for Roman and Saxon activity in this area. A large curvilinear ditch, also visible on aerial photographs (see NHER 50591), was excavated and found to contain 1st to 3rd century pottery. Ditches and gullies to the north and northwest of the site appeared to comprise a field system of similar date to the enclosure. Several pits containing smelting slag and possible Saxon pottery beside a rectilinear enclosure suggested a probable metalworking area in the northwest corner of the site dating from the Saxon period. Large-scale excavations in advance of gravel extraction continue.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6339 1105
Map Sheet:TF61SW
Parish:TOTTENHILL, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

April 1995. Desk-based Assessment.
Assessment of proposed mineral extraction area.
The area has been subjected to little systematic analysis so far. Old gravel workings disturbed significant archaeological deposits in the general area. Palaeolithic flints are known from within the mineral body and comparative material has been found at other local quarries. From the overburden and topsoil there are records of later prehistoric pottery, substantial quantities of Romano-British pottery and finds and observations indicating part of a large early Anglo-Saxon cemetery.
Aerial photographs indicate a number of cropmarks. Some of these may be of archaeological interest. A long curvilinear mark is probably of archaeological origin, as is the possible enclosure orientated northwest to southeast. The rectilinear cropmarks suggestive of cursus-style enclosures and associated circular and concentric square-cornered marks are most likely to be the result of modern quarrying activity.
The Police House Field is located within an area of considerable archaeological potential. Although most of the known evidence is concentrated in the eastern side of the field, the western side has been subjected to less disturbance and may therefore not hold any lesser potential. On present evidence, further Anglo-Saxon finds, would be considered to be of considerable importance.
See report (S1) for further details.

November 1999. Desk-based Assessment.
Extended update of previous assessment.
A number of cropmarks are present. It is clear from cartographic evidence that a number of these cropmarks relate to two old field boundaries and relatively recent drainage runs. It is also evident that a complex linear and generally north to south band of rectilinear and concentric marks are almost certainly entirely derived from previous gravel workings which are known to date from the late 19th and 20th century and their subsequent reinstatement. Several other small cropmarks lying to the east of the main concentration, and north of the workings, are likely to be of similar origin. ?Two other north to south linear marks lying on ?undisturbed ground between identified drainage runs and the band of rectilinear features, as well as others apparently associated and lying close to the southern boundary may relate to a ?large enclosure of unknown date with an ?eastwards focus. In the western half very limited and undeterminate cropmarks are present which may be recent, although there is no direct evidence for this.
A number of prehistoric, Iron Age, Roman and earlier medieval date finds are known from a relatively small area of old mineral workings in the immediate locality. There is only a single recorded medieval find which has no implications and there are no post medieval finds. Most of the finds are poorly provenanced and some may derive from this area. Substantial and extensive ground disturbance has taken place in the eastern part of the area. As a consequence if archaeology was present in these former extraction areas it may have been either severely truncated or entirely removed. There is always the possibility of fragmentary or isolated survival.
See report (S2) for further details.
M. Dennis (NLA), 19 September 2007.

July-August 2003. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of proposed mineral extraction area. 27 trenches excavated; 22 within the main proposed mineral extraction area (Police House Field) and five along a proposed conveyor route in the field to the north (Trenches 1 and 3-6).
Contexts 1 to 200.
The evaluation revealed a possible focus of activity in the southeast corner of the study area. A large curvilinear ditch, corresponding with cropmarks visible on aerial photographs of the area was excavated. This ditch appears to enclose an area of higher ground in the southeast corner of the site, and may form the western boundary of a settlement or stock enclosure. The ditch contained 1st to 3rd century Roman pottery, including Samian ware. Associated with this ditch were a number of gullies, and nearby were two pits of possible Saxon date. A concentration of unabraded Roman pottery, ceramic building material and bone was found in features and topsoil in this area, along with four quern fragments.
In the trenches to the north and northwest of the field, excavations revealed field systems comprising shallow ditches and gullies. These were largely undated, although certain sections yielded Roman pottery of a similar date to the enclosure. A number of pits were identified, one of which contained large quantities of burnt flint and metalworking debris. A probable rectilinear enclosure in the northwest corner of the site and close to this pit produced smelting slag and possible Saxon pottery suggesting a probable metal-working area.
See report (S3) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S4) and discussed in (S5).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 27 March 2007.

October-December 2003. Excavation.
Excavation on new quarry conveyor route.
Details awaited.

August-September 2007. Strip, Map and Sample Excavation.
From context 201.
Details to come.
See (S6) and (S7).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 10 August 2007.

February 2008. Strip Map and Sample Excavation.
Excavations continue, revealing fields or enclosures, a possible small aisled barn, a possible kiln or drier and a pit with a large quern fragment. See plan in file.
Details to come.

Cropmarks on the conveyor route are recorded as NHER 17786.
Cropmarks within Police House Field are recorded as NHER 50591.
Metal-detecting within the area is recorded as NHER 29697.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Unknown date)
  • GULLY (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman to 19th Century - 43 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GULLY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STOCK ENCLOSURE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GULLY (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • POST HOLE (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • RUBBISH PIT (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WELL (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • MICROLITH? (Mesolithic - 10000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRICK (Roman to 19th Century - 43 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • GRAIN RUBBER (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • QUERN (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • TILE (Roman to 19th Century - 43 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • BURNT FLINT (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • POT (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • RING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Contractor Report: Whitmore, D. 2010. Watlington Quarry, Norfolk: Archaeological Excavation Assessment Tasks. NAU Archaeology. 1691a.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Griffiths, D. 1995. Land at Watlington and Tottenhill, Norfolk. Archaeological Assessment. Oxford Archaeological Associates Limited.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Havercroft, A. 1999. A Desk-Based Assessment. Archaeological and Historic Features (Extended Update). Land at Watlington and Tottenhill, Norfolk. The Guildhouse Consultancy.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Town, M. 2003. An Archaeological Evaluation at Watlington and Tottenhill ('Police House Field' and Converyor Route), Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 852.
<S4>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 587.
<S5>Article in Serial: Horlock, S., Albone, J. and Tremlett, S. 2008. The Archaeology of Norfolk's Aggregate Landscape: Results of the National Mapping Programme. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt III pp 337-348.
<S6>Photograph: Westall, S.. 2007. MXD-MXQ. Watching Brief by NAU Archaeology at Police House Field, Watlington and Tottenhill..
<S7>Slide: Westall, S.. 2007. NHER 39457 Slides 1-?. Watching Brief by NAU Archaeology at Police House Field, Watlington and Tottenhill.

Related records

17786Related to: Multi-period cropmarks (Monument)
29697Related to: Roman, medieval and post medieval objects, Police House Field (Find Spot)
50591Related to: Undated quarry features, Police House Field (Monument)

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