Record Details

NHER Number:5641
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Unprovenanced Palaeolithic handaxes and other flint implements, Broomhill (Weeting with Broomhill, poorly located)

Summary

Various museums across the country hold Palaeolithic objects recorded as being from "Broomhill" (or similar). There are more than 100 objects in total - mostly handaxes - the majority of which were recovered or acquired by many different individuals in the late 19th or early 20th century. It is believed that the bulk of this material was collected at a site known as the Broomhill Ballast Pit (NHER 5642), which was worked in the later 19th century. There is however at least one other pit in the Broomhill area that is known to have produced Palaeolithic material around this time so the provenance of these objects is far from certain. It is also possible that at least some of the objects in the museum collections recorded simply as coming from "Weeting" were also recovered from the Broomhill area (see NHER 5592 for details of these finds).

Images - none

Location

Parish:WEETING WITH BROOMHILL, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

A significant number of Palaeolithic artefacts have been recovered from the Broomhill area of Weeting parish. Although many of these objects survive in various museum collections, most were recovered by antiquarian collectors in the late 19th century and early 20th century and therefore lack information regarding their exact provenance. Many are simply marked as being from ''Bromehill', "Broom Hill" or "BromeHill". It is likely that the majority of these finds came from a ballast pit close to the railway line (NHER 5642), although it is possible that some may be from a site known as the Bromehill Cottage/Botany Bay pit (NHER 5943), which is also known to have produced Palaeolithic material around the same time. The situation is further confused by the fact that this site was often referred to as being in or near Brandon (which is nearby but across the county line in Suffolk). A number of finds from this area are also simply recorded as being from 'Weeting' - these are recorded separately under NHER 5592.

Roe (S1) identified 111 objects in museum collections that are recorded as coming from Broomhill, these listed as:
83 handaxes.
9 roughouts.
11 retouched flakes/flake implements.
1 Levallois flake.
These finds are recorded as being held by the British Museum, the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (CUMAA), the Edinburgh National Museum of Archaeology, Hastlemere Museum, Ipswich Museum, Norwich Castle Museum (NCM), the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums in Oxford, the Salisbury Museum, Warrington Museum and York Museum. Roe notes that the totals given should only be seen as approximate given the poorly provenanced nature of the material.

Wymer (S4) lists a total of 87 handaxes as being from Broomhill: 40 in the British Museum, 13 in the CUMAA, 2 in Ipswich Museum, 11 in the NCM, 13 in the Ashmolean and 8 in the Pitt Rivers Museum. It appears that Wymer considered the bulk of this material to be from the ballast pit site (NHER 5642).

Roe (S1) also lists a handaxe and a retouched flake/flake implement in the CUMAA what were from the "Broom Hill railway cutting". These were presumably found somewhere in the vicinity of ballast pit (NHER 5642). Wymer (S4) also mentions these finds, which he almost certainly included in his Broomhill totals.

FINDS IN THE NORWICH CASTLE MUSEUM

For the most part it is difficult to provide further information on the material summarised by Roe and Wymer. One notable exception is the material held by the NCM, with (S2) and the museum accession records providing a certain amount of additional detail. Finds recorded by (S2) as coming from Broomhill (or similar) include:
11 handaxes and 1 flake in the Fitch Collection (NWHCM : 1894.76.905-912).
1 handaxe in the F. N. Haward Collection (NWHCM : 1947.33.12 : A). This was apparently "picked up on railway" at Broomhill.
1 handaxe marked "Valley of the Little Ouse River, Broomhill, Norfolk" (NWHCM : 1962.313). One of two handaxes transferred from the Guildford Museum (Surrey) in 1962 (the second has a more general "Valley of the Little Ouse" provenance and is therefore recorded under NHER 11166).
1 small handaxe transferred from the Letchworth Museum in 1998 (NWHCM : 1998.485.6). Marked "Broom".
1 cleaver transferred from the Northampton Museum (and therefore not one of the objects listed by either Roe or Wymer), recorded as being possibly from "Bromehill Pit" (NWHCM : 2000.68).

The S. S. George Collection in the NCM (NWHCM : 1963.120.30) also includes a number of Palaeolithic implements of unspecified type that are recorded as being "possibly from the Broomhill site". It is however unclear whether Roe and Wymer included these in their totals for Broomhill. Wymer (S4) notes that the form and condition of this small assemblage suggests it may not be from the Broomhill area. See NHER 5592.

FINDS IN OTHER NORFOLK MUSEUMS

The Thetford Museum holds a small collection of 4 Palaeolithic handaxes that are recorded as coming from "Bromehill" (THEHM : 1977.160), probably during the 1920s. There is no further information on where these objects were recovered, although it is noted that one has brickearth adhering, suggesting that it may be a find from the Botany Bay Brick Pit (NHER 5643) or a nearby clay pit.

FINDS IN OTHER MUSEUMS

British Museum:
The British Museum now holds 12 handaxes from Broomhill that were transferred from the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum in 1975 (1975,0306.62; 1975,0306.64-74). Marked as being found at "Broom Hill" during the late 19th century.
Information from museum records.

The British Museum Christy Collection also includes a range of objects from Broomhill including 16 handaxes, 1 flake tool and 2 flakes (2011,8059.83-86). The Sturge Collection also includes material from Broomhill, including 22 handaxes, 7 flake tools and 4 flakes (2011,8109.730-735). These will include the 31 "drift" implements from "Broom Hill, Weeting" noted in (S5). The British Museum also hold a quartzite hammerstone from Broomhill (2011,8075.3). There appears to be a degree of confusion regarding the provenance of these objects, which are recorded as being from Norfolk in the museums older records but as being from Barnstaple (Devon) in the current digital records. Possibly a confusion with Broom?

The total of 40 handaxes given by Wymer in (S4) suggests that he regarded all of the above collections as being from Broomhill in Norfolk. These collections presumably also include the other objects that Wymer lists as being in the BM: 9 primary flakes (2 only slightly rolled), 1 side scraper and 1 flake with non-specialised retouch (both rolled) and 1 hammerstone.

Most of the above collections are listed on (S2), which also notes that there was also "much unregistered" material from Broomhill.

Ashmolean Museum:
The exact nature of the material held at the Ashmolean Museum is unclear. Wymer recorded on (S3) that the Ashmolean held 16 rolled handaxes marked as being from Broom Hill, Brandon. This is slightly at variance with (S4) in which Wymer lists 13 handaxes for the Ashmolean. In (S4) Wymer also notes a number of other objects from Broomhill in the Ashmolean's collections, including 1 side scraper, 1 retouched flake and 1 thick flake worked as a handaxe.
This information is difficult to reconcile with the museum's current records, which do not appear to list any objects with a Broomhill provenance. There are however collections of Palaeolithic material recorded as being from Brandon and Broom in Devon. At present it is therefore unclear which objects were identified by Wymer.

Ipswich Museum:
According to (S3) and (S4) the Ipswich Museum holds 2 handaxes from Broomhill.

Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology:
The CUMAA hold a number of Palaeolithic worked flints that are recorded as being from Broomhill, Brandon. It is clear from (S3) and (S4) that Wymer regarded these as being from the Weeting site and they are presumably the reason that the CUMAA was listed in (S1). The objects themselves include:
11 handaxes (1922.156; 1922.1555-1559; 1922.1561-1565).
1 handaxe and 1 retouched flake (1925.23 C).
1 handaxe (1924.1026.3).
1 ?handaxe ("biface"; 1925.23/Record 1).
The above objects presumably include the 13 handaxes that Wymer notes on (S3) and in (S4).

As noted above the CUMAA also hold two objects recorded as being from "Broomhill Railway Cutting". These are recorded in (S1) as being a handaxe (1924.1026.1) and a flake implement (1924.1026.2). It appears from (S7) that Wymer recorded both as handaxes.

Pitt Rivers Museum:
The Pitt Rivers Museum appears to hold 9 Palaeolithic objects from "Broom Hill". According to the museum's current records these are spread across a number of separate collections:
2 handaxes, 1 scraper and 1 ?Levallois flake (1884.122). Founding collection.
1 flake (1884.132.27). Founding collection.
2 handaxes and 1 flake (1892.67). Ex J. W. Flower.
2 ?handaxes ("Chellean implements") (1927.83.33). Brought at auction.
Although a small number of these objects are recorded as being from Broom Hill, Brandon, it is likely that all are from Weeting. Most are presumably amongst the 8 handaxe and 2 flakes in this museum identified by Wymer and noted on (S3) and in (S4).

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum:
This museum is one of those listed in (S1) as holding museum from Broomhill. It is also noted in (S8) that the Blackmore Museum, Salisbury held Palaeolithic material from Broomhill. However, as noted above, a significant collection of material was subsequently transferred to the British Museum in 1975 and it is unclear whether any objects remain at Salisbury. No implements in this museum are noted on (S3) or listed in (S4).

Sedgwick Museum (Cambridge):
Although this museum is listed in (S1) as holding material from Broomhill, Wymer's records (S3) suggest that most, if not all, of these objects are most likely from the Botany Bay site (NHER 5643).

Haselmere Museum (Surrey):
Although this museum is listed in (S1) as holding at least one Palaeolithic object from Broomhill the nature of this material is unclear at present. No implements in this museum are noted on (S3) or listed in (S4).

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh:
Although this museum is listed in (S1) as holding at least one Palaeolithic object from Broomhill the nature of this material is unclear at present. No implements in this museum are noted on (S3) or listed in (S4). It is noted in (S8) that in 1907 the Museum of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries, Edinburgh held Palaelolithic material from Broomhill.

Yorkshire Museum:
Although this museum is listed in (S1) as holding at least one Palaeolithic object from Broomhill the nature of this material is unclear at present. No implements in this museum are noted on (S3) or listed in (S4).

Many of the above finds are also noted in (S6) and (S7) although little additional information is given. See NHER 5642 for further discussion of the Palaeolithic material from Broomhill.

P. Watkins (HES), 20 May 2013.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)

Associated Finds

  • CLEAVER (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • ROUGHOUT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • SIDE SCRAPER (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • SIDE SCRAPER (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LEVALLOIS FLAKE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)
  • LEVALLOIS FLAKE? (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC?)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 242.
<S2>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S3>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Weeting (Broomhill; Broomhill Railway Cutting; Broomhill Brandon).
<S4>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. pp 103-104.
<S5>Publication: Smith, R. A. 1931. The Sturge Collection: an illustrated selection of flints from Britain bequeathed in 1919 by William Allen Sturge. 126.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1996. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 9 (Great Ouse) and 12 (Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire Wolds). Wessex Archaeology. LLO-3, No.4.
<S7>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22748.
<S8>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1907. The Distribution of Flint and Bronze Implements in Norfolk. Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Vol VIII Pt III (for 1906-1907) pp 393-409. p 396.

Related records - none

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