Record Details

NHER Number:38629
Type of record:Monument
Name:Salthouse Barrow Cemetery

Summary

The barrow cemetery at Salthouse Heath probably represents the largest barrow group recorded in Norfolk. The dispersed cemetery covers approximately 1.6km by 1.2km of heathland. The mapping has also revealed the soilmarks and cropmarks of former barrow sites on the arable land that now surrounds the heath. Many of these sites are consistent with former barrows known from antiquarian records and plans, which have since been destroyed by the plough. The surviving earthworks include two extremely large embanked barrows (NHER 6201-2), disc barrows and a linear barrow cemetery (NHER 6201). A number of these barrows have been excavated, and the results, combined with the NMP mapping, can be used to reconstruct the development of the cemetery. The barrow cemetery at Salthouse appears to have developed very gradually over nearly 2000 years.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 07179 42202
Map Sheet:TG04SE
Parish:LETHERINGSETT WITH GLANDFORD, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
SALTHOUSE, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

August 2008. Norfolk NMP.
The barrow cemetery at Salthouse Heath, centred on TF 0733 4213, probably represents the largest barrow group recorded in Norfolk. The dispersed cemetery covers approximately 1.6km by 1.2km of heathland. The mapping has also revealed the soilmarks and cropmarks of former barrow sites on the arable land that now surrounds the heath, for example NHER 17478-9, 36399, 36412. Many of these sites are consistent with former barrows known from antiquarian records and plans, which have since been destroyed by the plough (S1). The surviving earthworks include two extremely large embanked barrows (NHER 6201-2), disc barrows and a linear barrow cemetery (NHER 6201). A number of these barrows have been excavated, and the results, combined with the NMP mapping, can be used to reconstruct the development of the cemetery.

The main area of the cemetery is located on an elevated plateau of the Cromer Ridge, just to the south of an area of higher ground, which overlooks the coast. Only one barrow actually sit on this higher ground (NHER 6211), which slopes very gently to the south. Despite the panoramic views available over the coastal plain to the north, the focus of the cemetery appears to be directed to the south, towards a network of river valleys. Several possible Neolithic monuments have also been identified to the south of this area (NHER 27172 & 36398), suggesting that the positioning of the round barrow cemetery was drawing upon the existing history of the place. However, it must be noted that the main focus of the cemetery is slightly removed from the Neolithic monuments and therefore may represent a shift away from these earlier sites and associated traditions and practices.

The barrow cemetery at Salthouse appears to have developed very gradually over nearly 2000 years. It is possible that some of the large and elaborate barrows within the cemetery have Late Neolithic origins. The recovery of fragments of Beaker pottery within the barrow on Three Farthing Hill (NHER 6203) could indicate a later Neolithic date, however the stratigraphic context and significance of these finds is uncertain [1]. A collared urn of an Early Bronze Age type has also been found ‘near the surface’ of the large embanked bowl barrow at Three Halfpenny Hill (NHER 6202). This may suggest an Early Bronze Age date of the monument or alternatively it is possible that this represents a secondary internment within an earlier barrow. Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age material (NHER 6227) has also been found close to the Gallows Hill barrow group (NHER 6201) on the eastern edge of the cemetery and is thought to have come from the one of the barrows. The Gallows Hill group forms a nucleated cluster within the more dispersed cemetery. The main focus is a large bowl barrow, the mound measuring 25-27m in diameter. To the immediate south of this large barrow are eight smaller barrows arranged in two rows. A tenth barrow, cut by the road, was possibly also visible on the aerial photographs, although checking on the ground has not identified any satisfactory sign of the mound. These smaller barrows range in size from 13m to 16.5m in diameter and are likely to be Middle Bronze Age in date. However, it must be noted that Iron Age pottery has been found in association with the site (NHER 6201).

The coarse bucket urns found associated with barrows within the western part of the cemetery could also indicate its use in the Middle Bronze Age (NHER 6212) (S1). This part of the cemetery certainly continues in use into the Late Bronze Age, as it becomes the focus for a cremation cemetery, with at least thirty small, closely spaced barrows being constructed. These later mounds measure approximately 0.3m high and 3-5m in diameter, and were located in the 1930s in the area of NHER 6212 (S1). Several have been excavated and were found to contain cremations within vessels described as ‘degenerate bucket urns’ of Late Bronze Age date (S1.). Fieldwork by Ray Loveday continues to locate further examples of these small and ephemeral barrows on the heath (NHER 6212). Cremation or bucket urns were also inserted into the mounds of the earlier round barrows during this period. The development of this cemetery reveals a constant reworking and negotiation of ancestral relationships, both real and aspirational.
This text is taken from the Bronze Age section of the Norfolk NMP Coastal Report and should be referenced as such (S2)
S. Massey (NMP), 22 August 2008.

Monument Types

  • BARROW CEMETERY (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE
  • SHINE
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 04 SE 35.
<S1>Monograph: Lawson, A. J., Martin, E., Priddy, D. and Taylor, A. 1981. The Barrows of East Anglia. East Anglian Archaeology. No 12. p39, pl. xi.
<S2>Monograph: Albone, J., Massey. S & Tremlett, S.. 2007. The Archaeology of Norfolk's Coastal Zone. Results of the National Mapping Programme. English Heritage Project No: 2913. pp53-5.

Related records

6210Parent of: Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6211Parent of: Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6203Parent of: Bronze Age barrow, Three Farthing Hill (Monument)
6202Parent of: Bronze Age barrow, Three Halfpenny Hill (Monument)
6209Parent of: Bronze Age barrows on Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6212Parent of: Bronze Age barrows, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6205Parent of: Bronze Age bowl barrow on Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6206Parent of: Bronze Age bowl barrow on Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6208Parent of: Bronze Age bowl Barrow on Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6204Parent of: Bronze Age round barrow on Salthouse Heath (Monument)
6201Parent of: Gallow Hill Bronze Age bowl barrow cemetery (Monument)
27967Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow cemetery (Monument)
27966Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow group (Monument)
37395Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39420Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39419Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39418Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39415Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39414Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39411Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39409Parent of: Possible Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
27170Parent of: Possible Bronze Age ring ditch (Monument)
39426Parent of: Probable Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
39422Parent of: Probable Bronze Age barrow, Salthouse Heath (Monument)
36399Parent of: Probable Bronze Age ring ditches (Monument)
27169Parent of: Probable Bronze Age ring ditches (Monument)
13446Parent of: Site of Bronze Age barrow (Monument)
6200Related to: Bronze Age barrow (Monument)

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