Record Details

NHER Number:38628
Type of record:Monument
Name:Complex cropmark enclosure site dating broadly to the Roman period


A complex cropmark enclosure site of broadly Roman date is visible on aerial photographs to the southwest of Stiffkey village. The site consists of several rectilinear enclosures and associated fields, tracks and ditches and probably represents a small settlement or farmstead. Although the main components of this site are thought to be Roman, the cropmarks suggest more than one phase of enclosure and activity. This may indicate an earlier Iron Age phase to the site or perhaps suggest that occupation continued into the Saxon period.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 96741 42578
Map Sheet:TF94SE

Full description


5 August 1977. NAU air photography.
Ditched enclosure as cropmarks.
D. Edwards (NAU), 19 March 1981.

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
A complex cropmark enclosure site of probable Roman date is visible on aerial photographs to the southwest of Stiffkey village. The site consists of several rectilinear enclosures and associated fields, tracks and ditches. Roman finds have been recovered near this site (NHER 17703). The morphology of the enclosures and fields would also suggest a broadly Roman date. The site is likely to represent an area of Roman settlement of farmsteads and field systems, although it is possible that the site may have developed in the Late Iron Age or perhaps continued into the Saxon period. It would appear that the more complex areas of cropmarks, such as at TF 9672 4261, represent more than one phase of settlement. The more curvilinear components of the site may also be broadly earlier or later in date than the more rectilinear and regular Roman enclosures.
The clearest of the cropmark enclosures is centred on TF 9660 4256. The enclosure is rectilinear with rounded corners and measuring 50m by 40m. It has internal subdivisions, including an inner parallel ditch running alongside the northwestern enclosure ditch, defining an elongated corridor or passage, 34m by 5m. To the east of this, centred on TF 9670 4262, is a square enclosure visible only on the 1970 Ordnance Survey aerial photographs (S1). This measures approximately 40m square and has rounded corners and may have an entrance to the north, suggested by a 5m wide gap. A wider gap in the ditch to the south may have been created by a break in the cropmark response or masking of the feature. This square enclosure appears to have a possible annexed or conjoined enclosure, centred on TF 9673 4262 and measuring 50m by 35m. This eastern annexe or associated enclosure is considerably more curvilinear in shape, although it does have rectangular internal subdivisions, approximately 23m by 12m. The cropmarks in this area are quite complex and suggest several phases of enclosure and boundaries. As suggested above it is possible that the more curvilinear enclosure elements are earlier or later than the main part of the site, although both enclosures are broadly aligned the same as the rectilinear enclosure to the west. Conjoined to the northeast of this eastern enclosure is a pair of parallel ditches forming a possible wide trackway or elongated enclosed area, 9m wide. The northern ditch turns to form a rounded corner and may well define the edge of a field or additional enclosure. A similar arrangement of ditches is visible to the northeast, centred on TF 9685 4271, again possibly defining part of a sub-rectangular enclosure or field, at least 50m by 35m.
To the north of the site, centred on TF 9663 4273, is another enclosure. This again has both rectilinear and curvilinear elements. This measures approximately 50m by 40m and a possible internal rectangular enclosed area, measuring 11m by 7m, with a smaller annexed area to the southeast. This is on a slightly different alignment to the rest of the site and as with the other more curvilinear components, may be earlier or later in date.
To the area of the south and west of the site is a area of fragmentary ditches and pits. The ditches are likely to relate to fields and tracks associated with the enclosures. Several possible pit clusters were mapped, although it was not entirely clear whether these are geological or anthropomorphic in origin. Given the obvious location of settlement and activity in this area, it is possible that they are manmade pits. These clusters are centred on TF 9673 4253, TF 9674 4259 and TF 9681 4263. Some of the pits are quite large, up to 3m across. Although some are roughly sub-rectangular or oblong, none of them would immediately appear to be grubenhauser or sunken-floored structures.
S. Massey (NMP), 21 October 2002.

Monument Types

  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Saxon - 410 AD? to 1065 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1970. OS/70009 007-8 19-MAR-1970.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1988. NHER TF 9642T-X (NLA 209/DTU/1-5) 17-AUG-1988.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1992. NHER TF 9642N-S (NLA 306/GKK/10-4) 29-JUN-1992.

Related records - none

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