Record Details

NHER Number:52314
Type of record:Monument
Name:Iron Age settlement, Harford Farm


Cropmarks of roundhouses, structures and fence lines, proven by excavation to be part of an Iron Age settlement within the Harford Farm excavation area.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2248 0425
Map Sheet:TG20SW

Full description

November 2009. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmarks of ring ditches and fragmentary ditches, the majority of which have been proven by excavation to relate to an Iron Age roundhouses, structures and fencelines, are visible on aerial photographs (S1-S3) within the area of the Harford Farm excavation area on the route of the Southern Bypass (NHER 9794), which forms the parent record for the excavations and associated cropmarks. The site is centred on TG 2247 0425.
This roundhouse (structure 5213) in excavation report) (S4) was 9m in diameter and consisted of a ring of post-holes with a sub-rectangular porch aligned NW-SE, as were other Iron Age domestics structures and fence lines excavated (S4). The cropmark was not sufficiently clear to reveal the individual post-holes, as at NHER 52277, and was only visible as a complete ring ditch, measuring approximately 7m in diameter (S1). It is possible that the slight discrepancy in size may be due to the rectification process or it is possible that the ring ditch cropmark relates to an internal boundary or drain within the ring of posts. Another ring ditch of this size is visible to the north at TG 2247 0427 (S1). This is likely to relate to the excavated ring gully structure ‘2339’ interpreted as the eaves-drip gully of an ephemeral building or hayrick or stack stand (S4). This structure was crossed by a fence line thought to also be Iron Age in date, but it was not clear which was the earlier of the two features. The cropmarks also suggested that another fence line or ditch, not detected during the excavations, also intersected with this ring gully (S2). A number of smaller and somewhat more irregular shaped ring ditches or gullies were also visible as cropmarks to the north and east of this larger ring ditch. These varied in size from 4m to 6m in diameter. Only one of these (structure 1912) was recorded during the excavations, it seems likely that these more ephemeral features visible only on aerial photographs from the early 1970s, have been truncated by the plough by the time of excavations. Given the size and irregularity of some of the ring ditches, it seems likely that these are the remains of relatively insubstantial structures rather than roundhouses.
Within close proximity to these ring ditches are a number of fragmentary linear ditches and small rectilinear ditched enclosures, which all follow the same dominant alignment as the roundhouse porches and the fence lines excavated (S4). Although no definite trace of the truncated ditches and stake lines revealed by the excavations could be detected on the aerial photographs, the comparable alignment of the features would suggest that they represent the remains of similar minor boundaries and shallow ditches, that have been destroyed by the plough in-between the early 1970s and date of the excavations. The alignment of the porches and boundaries (NW-SE and NE-SW) is reflected in the wider area of the site by a series of fragmentary ditches and rectilinear fields visible as cropmarks to the east and by more substantial enclosures and boundary ditches to the west (NHER 52292). These are likely to be of a broadly contemporary or slightly later date to the settlement. The area of roundhouses and ring ditches are nestled within the remains of the earlier Bronze Age barrows (NHER 52280) and it is interesting to note that the alignment of the porches reflects the alignment of the three of the larger barrows that the houses sit amongst, and this may have retained a contemporary meaning with regards to the landscape and possible ancestral narratives.
S. Horlock (NMP), 23 November 2009.

Monument Types

  • BOUNDARY FENCE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FENCE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RING DITCH (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1973. CUCAP (BOB53) 05-JUL-1973.
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1974. NHER TG 2204S-T (NLA 2/AAW6-7) 14-JUN-1974.
<S3>Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1974. CUCAP (BQF20) 02-JUL-1974.
<S4>Monograph: Ashwin, T.. 2000. Norwich Southern Bypass Project.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 91 & 92.

Related records

9794Part of: Multi-period site at Harford Farm (Monument)
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