Record Details

NHER Number:5394
Type of record:Monument
Name:Mesolithic and later prehistoric worked flints, possible Beaker occupation site and Iron Age/Roman enclosure and ?structures, Sluice Drove


This site was excavated in 1962 in order to investigate a series of cropmark features that had been identified on aerial photographs, including a large enclosure. Although an unknown number of ditches were excavated these could not be dated. This work did however also revealed at least two chalk 'house floors'. The date of these structures was also unclear and the pottery assemblage recovered appears to have been a mix of Beaker, Iron Age and Roman sherds (at least some of which is now held by the Norwich Castle Museum). Worked flints were also recovered, including a number of pieces of probable Mesolithic date.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 717 879
Map Sheet:TL78NW

Full description

July 1962. Excavation.
Excavations by [1] in 'Sluice Drove'. The site lay close to where an extensive series of cropmarks had been investigated by Salway around the same time (NHER 5316). This excavation was also undertaken in order to investigate linear cropmarks that had identified from aerial photographs.

No detailed records are available from this work, which was described by Salway (S1) as having produced "…no evidence for habitation and only a few fragments of Iron Age or Roman pottery were recovered". We do however have a brief prelimanary report that was prepared by [1] which also includes lists of finds from three sites at Sluice Drove; these titled 'Original House Floor', Sluice Drove South' and 'Sluice Drove North'. There is however a degree of confusion as the report itself would appear to only describe two sites.

The report notes the discovery of small "...chalk house floor..." this located "...75 yards south-east f the south-east corner of Sluice Drove Bridge…". This would appear to be the 'Original House Floor' site which is listed as having produced:
15 prehistoric pottery sherds described as "…native Norfolk, well made pottery, comb decorated".
4 prehistoric flint scrapers.
1 prehistoric hammerstone
1 prehistoric flint 'beaked' fabricator.

Following the discovery of the above site the field was levelled with a bulldozer at which point another "…early camp site…" was identified. From how the finds are described this would appear to be the 'Sluice Drove South' site. The objects recovered from this site are listed as:
1 Beaker pottery sherd ('early Beaker rim sherd').
6 Iron Age/Roman sherds list as 1 sherd red coated native ware, 3 decorated coarse sherds, 1 coarse sherd with incised 'thumb nail' decoration and 1 large, thin wheel-turned decorated sherd.
A number of flints are also listed as having been recovered at this site including:
5 blades (1 'punched').
1 blade core.
4 cores.
5 scrapers.
1 thumbnail scraper.
1 hammerstone.
1 'flake tool'.
Misc. flakes and other debitage.
The other finds listed are:
1 ?sandstone grinding stone, polished on both sides.
1 bone needle or punch.

The records for the 'Sluice Drove North' site are something of a mystery as they cannot be matched to the description in the preliminary report. It is recorded that at this site a "…rough chalk floor…" was excavated, this 20' long, 15' wide and between 3" and 7" thick". This was associated with "Three piles of disarticulated sheep bones, pot sherds, and flints…". The pottery is listed as comprising:
A "small group of coarse hand made native tradition undecorated sherds dating to the 2nd century".
A "small group coarse pottery including two fragments of color-coated 2nd century (late).
One sherd of Bronze Age beaker.
23 sherds "...secondary Neolithic or Early Beaker material…".
10 sherds of "…first century native, all in Norfolk tradition".
A number of flints are also recovered as having been recovered at this site including:
3 blade cores.
6 cores.
1 core trimming flake.
6 blades.
1 fabricator.
5 hammerstones.
It is noted that the blades (which have "pin-head sized striking platforms") and blade cores are consistant with a Mesolithic date, being similar to the material from Kelling Heath (NHER 6246).

Although it is clear from the preliminary report that a number of ditches were investigated few details are given, although it is noted that they produced no pottery and that no metal objects were recovered (even though a mine detector was used). It is however noted in (S1) that this was the site of a large irregular enclosure, which was interpreted as a "cattle enclosure". The date of the remains at this site is unclear, particularly as the suggested pottery spot date may well be misleading. It does however seem likely, as noted by F. Healy in (S3) that pre Iron Age as well as Iron Age/Roman material was present - it certainly seems reasonably likely that Beaker pottery was present. It should also be noted that a number of the sherds from Salway's excavation (NHER 5316) that had been described as "secondary Neolithic" were reidentified by Healy as probably Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (S3).

Although it was previously believed that no finds from this work survived, in 1999 the Norwich Castle Museum accessioned two collections of the excavator's finds that are recorded as being from the Sluice Drove North Site (NWHCM : 1998.487.1) and the Sluice Drove South site (NWHCM : 1998.487.2). Both collections are listed as including pottery sherds of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman date. There is also at least one 'Neolithic' worked flint from the south site. Although the Ipswich Museum holds a small collection of Mesolithic worked flints that T. C. Kelly recovered on Hockwold Fen, the grid reference listed in both (S4) and (S5) suggests that these were from another site to the west (TL 685 879; NHER 13327).

Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 11 November 2013.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • OCCUPATION SITE? (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • BUILDING? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLOOR? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • NEEDLE (Undated)
  • WHETSTONE? (Unknown date)
  • BLADE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FABRICATOR (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FABRICATOR? (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • THUMB NAIL SCRAPER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • Higher Level Stewardship

Sources and further reading

---Archive: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Hockwold cum wilton.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Hockwold Cum Wilton.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Article in Serial: Salway. 1967. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Vol LX, p 56. p 56.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Kelly, T.C.. 1962. Preliminary Report on Sluice Drove Site.
<S3>Monograph: Healy, F. 1996. The Fenland Project, Number 11: The Wissey Embayment: Evidence for pre-Iron Age Occupation. East Anglian Archaeology. No 78. p 27; Microfiche.
<S4>Monograph: Wymer, J. J. and Bonsall, C. J. (eds). 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites in England and Wales with a Gazetteer of Upper Palaeolithic Sites in England and Wales. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. No. 20. p 207.
<S5>Archive: R. Jacobi. -. Jacobi Archive.

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