Record Details

NHER Number:6563
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Palaeolithic, ?Mesolithic and Neolithic worked flints, Stone Pit Hill


A number of prehistoric flint implements were recovered at this site during the late 19th century and early 20th century. These objects include at least one Palaeolithic handaxe and a Levallois flake. A potentially Mesolithic adze and several Neolithic flint axeheads and adzes were also found.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1497 3811
Map Sheet:TG13NW

Full description

Various prehistoric objects recorded as having been found at Stone Pit Hill (or Hills) between 1884 and 1955.

1884. Stray Find.
1 Neolithic polished axe. Dimensions 5 inches [12.7cm] by 2 1/4 inches [5.7cm]. Found in 1884.
Information from (S1).
Listed along with a number of other objects that were probably formerly in the possession of J. Cox (headmaster of Gresham School during the early 20th century). Probably now part of the Norwich Castle Museum's Cox-Barclay Collection (NWHCM : 1935.57).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 8 October 2014.

June 1893. Stray Find.
1 "chipped flint celt". Dimensions 3 1/2 inches [8.9cm] by 1 7/8 inches [4.7cm]. Found June 1893. Oval section.
Information from (S1).
This is almost certainly a bifacial ovate implement marked "Stone Pit Hills, Gresham June 1893" that is now part of the NCM Cox-Barclay Collection (NWHCM : 1935.57). It is probably also the "handaxe" listed in (S2) as being from "Stow Pit Hills" - which is how the markings on this object would be read at first glance. This implement was however described by Wymer on (S3) and in (S4) as being in mint condition and therefore potentially Neolithic rather than Palaeolithic.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 8 October 2014

The above finds and other objects found in the parish around the same time are likely to be the reason that Gresham is listed in (S11) as a location that had produced Neolithic implements of "Sandy Site Type" prior to 1907. The finders are listed as J. Cox and A. C. Savin.

1908-1915. Stray Find.
Several flint implements found by J. Cox at "Stone Pit Hills" between 1908 and 1915 are listed on (S1), including:
1 Neolithic partly-polished flint adze. Dimensions 7 inches [17.8cm] by 1 1/2 inches [3.8cm wide]. Triangular section. Found 8 November 1908.
1 flint adze. Dimensions 5 3/4 inches [14.6cm] by 1 3/4 inches [4.5cm]. Triangular section. Found November 1909.
1 chipped flint adze. Found in November 1913.
1 Neolithic end of polished axe, rechipped. Found in December 1915.
The adze found in November 1909 is part of the NCM Cox-Barclay Collection (NWHCM : 1935.57) and was identified as potentially Mesolithic by R. Jacobi. The other implements are probably also part of this collection.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 8 October 2014

September 1919. Stray Find.
Found by J. Cox:
1 Palaeolithic flint "Group III" handaxe. Subsequently acquired by F. H. Barclay (his Collection No. 18) and later donated to the Norwich Castle Museum (Cox-Barclay Collection NWHCM : 1935.57; not individually accessioned).
Information from (S5).
This handaxe was exhibited by Cox at a meeting of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia on 9 December 1919. It was subsequently illustrated in (S6), in which it is described as a "remarkable twisted hand-axe", found in "…a glacial deposit of yellowish, sandy, friable clay". This illustration was reproduced in (S7). See also drawing held by HES (S8).

The exact provenance of this find is not given, although it is noted that the deposit in which it was found was at "…approximately 300 [ft] O.D…situated on a very small plateau on the top of the hummocky glacial drift on the west side of the parish". Notes on (S5) and copies of other sources suggest the provenance of this object was "Sadler's Hills". It is also suggested on (S5) that this site may have lain "on the road to East Beckham" - which resulted in this handaxe being previously recorded under NHER 6603 (a gravel pit to the west of the East Beckham road). This is however clearly incompatible with the information given by (S6). As noted by Wymer (S4) the only land that approaches an elevation of 300ft [91m] O.D is in vicinity of the quarry that lay on Stonepit Hill.

This object is almost certainly one of the handaxes listed in (S2), possibly one of the two recorded as being from "Sadler's Hills". It is briefly described on (S3) and in (S4) and is also noted in (S9) and (S10); both of which associate this find with Stone Pit Hill.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 20 June 2014.

As noted above R. R. Clarke's notes make a connection between at least one of the finds that is probably from this site and the name "Sadler's Hills". It is also suggested in Wymer's records that "Sadler's Hills" may be the same site as Stonepit Hill. The origins of this name are unclear, given that it does not appear on any early maps of the parish. However, according to (S2) two of the handaxes in the NCM are recorded as being from "Sadlers Hills" and it is therefore possible that one or both is actually from this site (presumably Cox-Barclay Collection NWHCM : 1935.57).
See NHER 6600 for further information on the more poorly-provenanced Palaeolithic objects in this collection.
P. Watkins (HES), 20 June 2014.

Pre 1955. Stray Find.
Found in North Barningham by J. E. Sainty:
1 Palaeolithic flint flake with "basket-work patina", ?Group II. Now held by Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1955.24). Information from (S5).
This object is listed as a Levallois flake in (S2), although it should be noted that the provenance is incorrectly listed as North Barningham, which is now part of Gresham. This flake is described on (S3) and in (S4) as a Levallois flake with secondary working, a white lustrous patina on one face and dendritic patina on the other. Wymer notes in (S4) that this appears to be a surface or subsoil discovery. This find is also noted in (S9) and (S10).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 20 June 2014.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Associated Finds

  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • LEVALLOIS FLAKE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)
  • ADZE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC?)
  • ADZE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Gressham [2].
<S2>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 232.
<S3>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Gresham (Stone Pit Hills).
<S4>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 31.
<S5>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S6>Article in Serial: 1920. Summary of Proceedings. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt II (for 1919-20) pp 315-322. pp 317-318; Fig 78.
<S7>Publication: Moir, J. Reid. 1927. The Antiquity of Man in East Anglia. pp 65-66; Fig 30.
<S8>Illustration: [Unknown]. Watercolour drawing of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Sadler's Hills. Card. Unknown.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1997. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 8 (East Anglian Rivers) and 11 (Trent Drainage). Wessex Archaeology. CR-2, No.4.
<S10>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22458.
<S11>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 400.

Related records - none

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