Record Details

NHER Number:52141
Type of record:Monument
Name:Iron Age field boundaries at Harford Park and Ride

Summary

An area of Iron Age fields are recorded through excavation and visible on aerial photographs within the Harford Park and Ride development excavation area (NHER 39268). A rectangular enclosure (NHER 52140) that sits within these fields, although originally interpreted as a Neolithic mortuary enclosure, it could potentially be a domestic or agricultural enclosure of Bronze Age date and could feasibly represent an early component part of this field system, although the current excavations data does not support this interpretation.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2164 0393
Map Sheet:TG20SW
Parish:KESWICK, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

These cropmarks were previously recorded under NHER 9753. The excavations of these features as part of the Harford Park and Ride development are under NHER 39268.

August 2009. Norfolk NMP.
An area of Iron Age fields are recorded through excavation and visible on aerial photographs (S1-S6) within the Harford Park and Ride development excavation area (NHER 39268). The site is centred on TG 2167 0393. A rectangular enclosure (NHER 52140) that sits within these fields, although originally interpreted as a Neolithic mortuary enclosure (S7-S8) may in fact be a domestic or agricultural enclosure of Bronze Age date and could feasibly represent an early component part of this field system, although the current excavations data does not support this interpretation. As outlined below an earlier date for some components of this field system is suggested and similarities with the plan of Bronze Age field systems from elsewhere in East Anglia is noted.
The excavations and NMP mapping indicate a series of broadly parallel field boundaries, following an alignment of SSW-NNE. These field boundaries were interpreted as representing one or two phases of late Iron Age fields during the excavations (Period 4). Only one section of these main field ditches provided dating evidence, with sixty sherds of late Iron Age pottery being recovered from ditch segment 3170 of ditch 3868 (S8). It must be noted that a number of ditches not included within the Iron Age phase of the excavation plans, these were grouped within the undated features, would appear to also represent part of this probable field system. All sections of the ditches had been heavily plough truncated and provided little evidence of the original profile and dating of the boundaries. The only other Iron Age feature identified with any confidence was a early Iron Age ring ditch, see NHER 52142 for discussion of this (S8), and sub-rectangular pit.
The main ditch examined during the excavations was poorly preserved and completely ploughed out in some places along its length (S8), this may account for the inability of the NMP to detect some sections of these features, although the aerial photographs did indicate further components of this field system not identified during the excavations. These generally ran parallel to the main ditches, possibly represent droves or tracks alongside the main fields. The NMP mapping may also indicate that these boundaries continued into the field to the north. Additional perpendicular ditches, assumed to represent part of this phase were tentatively identified on the aerial photographs in the area of the possible earlier Iron Age ring ditch (NHER 52142) and rectangular enclosure of either Neolithic or Bronze Age date (NHER 52140).
The plan of this field system indicated by the combined excavation evidence and NMP mapping would appear to have many similarities with a co-axial field systems recorded within East Anglia and elsewhere in southern England, more generally interpreted as being Bronze Age in date (S9). The long arrangement of parallel single and double boundary ditches and/or trackways has some shared characteristics with sites excavated in the Cambridgeshire Fens, such as Fengate and Bradley Fen (S9).
The NMP mapping and the excavation plans combined would suggest that these field boundaries are aligned the same as the rectangular enclosure of possible late Neolithic or Bronze Age date (NHER 52140), with at least one of the ditches appearing to abut the enclosure ditch. The dating for the enclosure is not concrete, see (S9) and record NHER 52140 for details. The fills of the enclosure ditches suggested that it was a relatively short-lived and relatively insubstantial monument and it therefore seems unlikely that such a relationship would exist between Neolithic and Iron Age remains. Alternatively given the fact that the majority of the field boundaries contained no dating evidence and only one section of the boundary ditch actually contained late Iron Age material, it is also feasible that the field system and the enclosure are more contemporaneous than previously thought. The similarity between the field layout and that of other Bronze Age field systems in eastern England is intriguing, although the current excavation data cannot corroborate the idea that the fields are of Bronze Age date.
S. Horlock (NMP), 23 August 2009.

Monument Types

  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • DITCH (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D. A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TG 2103J-K (NLA 9/ACF1-2) 02-JUL-1974.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D. A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 2103E-F (NLA 45/AFB13-4) 19-JUL-1977.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1978. CUCAP (CGF10-13) 03-JUL-1978.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D. A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 2103M (NLA 82/ANT10) 09-JUN-1980.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D. A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 2204AZ (NLA 84/ANW18) 16-JUN-1980.
<S7>Unpublished document: Trimble, G.. 2004. NAU Report No. 938. Assessment Report and Post Excavation Project Design, Harford Park and Ride, Harford, Norfolk..
<S8>Unpublished document: Trimble, G.. Excavation of a Prehistoric and Roman site at Harford Park and Ride, Keswick, Norfolk, 2003 (Unfinished draft).
<S9>Monograph: Yates, D. T.. 2007. Land, Power and Prestige: Bronze Age Field Systems in Southern England..

Related records

39268Part of: Harford Park and Ride site; complex multi-phase prehistoric and Roman site (Monument)
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