Record Details

NHER Number:7937
Type of record:Monument
Name:Possible Roman cremations or kiln and other, prehistoric and Roman remains

Summary

In 1773 a number of potentially Roman 'urns' were reportedly exposed during the excavation of a gravel pit at location. These were initially interpreted as cremation vessels and a large nearby feature containing ashes and burnt earth was described as a 'sepulchral heath'. Later publications have however suggested that these may actually have been the remains of a Roman pottery kiln.
Several pits of probable Roman date were recorded during the constuction of South Norfolk House between 1976 and 1977. Little else was seen, although it appears that only periodic observation of the groundworks had been possible.
A more systematic programme of archaeological evaluation was undertaken between 2013 and 2015, prior to the redevelopment of the area to the south-east of the 18th-century gravel pit. Although a number of archaeologically signficiant features were exposed, Roman finds were scarse and only a single pit and two ditches could be tentatively associated with this phase of activity. The other features investigated included several potentially prehistoric pits, all of which produced worked flints of Early Neolithic type.
Overall it would appear that there is little evidence to suggest that significant Roman remains survived beyond the gravel pit in which the initial discoveries were made. It is therefore extremely difficult to assess the likely nature and signficance of what was found, particular given the limited nature of the surviving record.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TM 1950 9309
Map Sheet:TM19SE
Parish:LONG STRATTON, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1773. Casual Observation.
Remains believed to have been of Roman date exposed during excavation of gravel pit.

The earliest account of these discoveries appears to be (S1), which records that in a gravel pit "…about a furlong [c.200m] from the houses…at a depth of six feet [1.8m] below the surface, several urns were found placed in a regular arrangement". These were "….all mutilated, except one, which was preserved and is now in the collection of Sir John Berney, of Kirby Bedon". This vessel was "...curiously ornamented, and when found, had a common plain pan, formed of red earth, laid over it as a cover". It is suggested that this arrangement was typical of that seen with Roman cremation vessels.
Discovered nearby soon after was a feature described as a 'sepulchral heath' and described in (S1) as having been "…of a quadrangular form, twelve feet in diameter, and covered to the depth of three inches with a mixture of ashes and burnt earth". This was thought to be the remains of a cremation pyre or similar.
These discoveries were subsequently noted in a number of other 19th-century publications, including (S2), (S3) and (S4). In most cases the descriptions given simply repeat that in (S1) - the one exception being (S3), which also notes that the 'hearth' was associated with "…two imperfect copper coins". The source of this additional information is not clear.

This site is amongst those listed in (S5), although here it is suggested for the first time that it may actually have been a Roman kiln that had been uncovered. It appears that the site was also subsequently listed as a possible kiln in (S6).

Information from (S7) and (S8).
According to (S8) an account of these discoveries in the 'NCM Bolingbroke Collection' states that it was the 'pan' that was decorated, not the underlying pot.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

This record was previously mapped as a point at TM 1948 9312 - it has now been remapped in order to include the locations of various discoveries made in the vicinity of the original gravel pit from 1976 onwards. The position of the 18th-century gravel pit itself is now recorded as Context 1 - its extent being taken from the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (where it has the annotation "Roman Urns found AD 1773").
P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

5 February 1976. Field Observation.
Site visited by E. Rose (NAU) ahead of construction of new council offices.
Section of field under pasture with former gravel pit now only a low wooded cliff. Rabbit scrapes revealed nothing and a farmer of a neighbouring farm reported that nothing had been found in the field over the preceding 22 years.
Information from (S9).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

9 June 1976. Field Observation.
Site visited again by E. Rose (NAU) following removal of topsoil.
Wooded cliff to be retained. The gravel pit had apparently destroyed all of the area down to natural deposits before being backfillled - several pits when excavated produced early 20th-century rubbish. The nature of the debris suggested that the site may have been used as the village nightsoil dump.
Area above crest of ridge also stripped but nothing visible.
No Roman finds were recovered - fragments of brick found all over site were modern.
Information from (S9).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

June 1976. Field Observation.
Linear feature revealed by stripping along top of ridge reported by A. Lawson (NAU) who regarded it as a recent boundary, although Roman and medieval pottery sherds were subsequently found in it by [1].
Pottery recovered by [1] donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1976.315).
Information from (S8) and (S9).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

29 June 1976. Field Observation.
Visit by E. Rose (NAU).
An 18th- or 19th-century land drain was noted in the base of the previously identified linear feature.
A single sherd of Roman or medieval pottery was found in backfill and donated to the NCM (NWHCM : 1976.316).
Information from (S8) and (S9).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

17 July 1976. Field Observation.
Visit by E. Rose (NAU).
Pit cut into natural deposits found to contain a horse's skull in poor condition and a single sherd of Roman pottery. No other animal bone was present and there was much charcoal around the skull.
Foreman reported that two topsoil-filled trenches with straight sides and flat bottoms had been seen nearby.
Pottery sherd donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1976.316).
Information from (S9).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

Summer 1977. Casual Observation.
Two pits observed by [2] during construction of carpark of South Norfolk House. Both were around 0.6m in diameter, square in plan and steep sided. One was found to contain Roman pottery sherds, oyster shells, charcoal and angular flint nodules, while the other produced no finds.
The small assemblage of Roman pottery is of probable 2nd or 3rd century date.
Pottery identified by A. Rogerson (NAU) and D. Gurney (NAU) and later donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1998.191.1).
Information from (S8).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 November 2018.

July 2013. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of proposed development site to south-east of South Norfolk House (Phase 1).
The seven trenches excavated revealed only a small number of scattered features.
These included a small pit of possible prehistoric date that produced a single worked flint flake and approximately 1kg of burnt flint. Other features investigated included a larger pit of uncertain date and function, a probable tree hole and a post-medieval field drain. A possible flint surface was also exposed in one of the trenches, close to the large pit.
The small assemblage of unstratified finds recovered included Mesolithic/Early Neolithic and undatable prehistoric worked flints; prehistoric, Roman and medieval pottery sherds; an amorphous fragment of cast iron and several fragments of animal bone.
See report (S10) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.198).
P. Watkins (HES), 14 November 2018. Amended 19 May 2019.

June 2015. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of demolition of Cygnet House in south-east corner of site.
No archaeologically significant features or deposits exposed.
See report (S11) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 14 November 2018.

September 2015. Trial Trenching.
Further evaluation of proposed development site to south-east of South Norfolk House (Phase 2).
The six additional trenches excavated revealed a number of archaeologically significant features although dating evidence was fairly scarce.
A large pit or hollow produced a small assemblage of Early Neolithic worked flints and two nearby pits were also found to contain flint flakes of potentially the same date.
A small amount of Roman pottery was recovered and a single pit and two ditches were tentatively dated to this period of activity, although it should be noted that the sherds were all small and abraded. A tegula fragment was the only other Roman find recovered.
Other remains investigated included a probable post-medieval quarry pit, six undated small pits or natural features and several linear features that were possibly drains.
See report (S11) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.320).
P. Watkins (HES), 14 November 2018. Amended 27 May 2019.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • LAYER (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • PIT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • PIT (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 2350 BC to 401 BC?)
  • CREMATION? (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FUNERAL PYRE? (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • HEARTH? (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • KILN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Unknown date)
  • BURNT FLINT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • BURNT FLINT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE CORE (Late Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 7000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Late Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 7000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED BLADE (Late Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 7000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BLADE (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • POT (Early Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 2350 BC to 401 BC?)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • POT (Roman to Medieval - 43 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TEGULA (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOTTLE (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • BRICK (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Clarke R. R. 1952. Roman Norfolk since Haverfield. A Survey of Discovery from 1901. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXX pp 140-155. p 152.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TM 19 SE 4.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Publication: Evans, J. and Britton, J. 1810. The Beauties of England and Wales: or Delineations, Topographical, Historical and Descriptive of each County. Vol 11. pp 214-215.
<S2>Monograph: Crowmwell, T. and Cotman, J. S. 1818. Excursions through Norfolk. p 53.
<S3>Monograph: Chambers, J. 1829. A General History of the County of Norfolk, intended to convey all the information of a Norfolk Tour. Vol I. p 111.
<S4>Publication: Hart, R. 1844. Antiquities of Norfolk. p 11.
<S5>Monograph: 1901. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 1. p 321.
<S6>Monograph: Grimes, W. F. 1930. Holt, Denbighshire: the Works-Depot of the Twentieth Legion at Castle Lyons. Y Cymmrodor. Vol XLI.
<S7>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Long Stratton.
<S8>Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S9>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Hodges, L. 2013. Archaeological Trial Trench Evaluation of Land behind Cygnet House, Swan Lane, Long Stratton, Norfolk. NPS Archaeology.
<S11>Unpublished Contractor Report: Crawley, P. 2015. Land at Swan Lane, Long Stratton, Norfolk, NR15 2UY. Archaeological Evaluation and Monitoring. Phase 2. NPS Archaeology. 2015/1067.

Related records - none

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