Record Details

NHER Number:9589
Type of record:Monument
Name:Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation site


For many years a large number of Neolithic worked flints have been recovered from this area, and aerial photographs have recorded the cropmarks of a number of ring ditches. The construction of the Norwich Southern Bypass enabled the excavation of this area, and a number of Bronze Age or Iron Age post holes were recorded, as well as an Iron Age ditched enclosure and a small square enclosure were also noted. In addition, a Roman iron smelting furnace was also discovered, and the nearby square enclosures (NHER 9794, NHER 9589) may also be Roman. Pottery sherds from the Early Bronze Age and Iron Age were also recovered, and two of the ring ditches were shown to be World War Two searchlight sites. This site lies just 450m to the east of Arminghall Henge (NHER 6100), and is likely to form part of that group of Neolithic and possible Bronze Age ring ditches and flint working sites (NHER 9605, NHER 9592, NHER 9586, NHER 12776, NHER 9587).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 247 060
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

The World War Two searchlight battery previously recorded under this number is now under NHER 54252.

1979 and 1978.
Field north of Valley Belt, containing ring-ditch.
Found on surface of field. Scatter of flints of general Neolithic types, including several scrapers and some long blades; also three sherds of coarse, flint-gritted pottery which, although not very distinctive, could well be Neolithic.
A. K. Gregory (NAU), 10 December 1979.

1956-1957. St Joseph Aerial Photographs double ring ditch (?barrow) noted on NCM card.
This is 9589/context 1 at 2469 0609.
E. Rose (NAU).

Flints are 130 flakes, 2 choppers/chunks, 5 cores, 23 scrapers many irregular pieces.
A. J. Lawson (NAU), 10 September 1980.

NAU Aerial photographs from 1 August 1973 to 14 June 1974: TG2406A-D, Q, R, U, and V.
Cropmarks of:
1) One small ring ditch, of double concentric type at TG24680609.
2) Three small and ill-defined ring ditches at TG2465 0602.
3) Portion of a square double concentric enclosure at TG 2460 0600.
4) Linear feature at TG2455 0612.
See Overlay for NAU NHER Record Maps at 6" and 1:2,500 scale, compiled by D. A. Edwards.
D. A. Edwards (NAU), 29 January 1980.

1980s. Fieldwalking in advance of Norwich Southern Bypass Field 69.
Worked flint and medieval sherds.
For full details of finds, including modern items not listed in record, weather conditions, etc. see Norwich Southern Bypass folder (S1).
E. Rose (NAU), 30 July 1990.

1990. Excavation of ring ditch.
Bronze Age/Iron Age post holes, Iron Age ditched enclosure and small square enclosure.
Roman iron smelting furnace. Beaker and Iron Age pottery.
The two ring ditches were shown to be searchlight sites.
See published report (S8) for full details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S9).
E. Rose 24 February 1992.

Square enclosures (NHER 9794 and 9589) suggested as Roman, and associated with the postulated cadastre and other sites. See draft of paper in file for NHER 9794.
D. Gurney (NLA), 2 April 2002.

The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TG 246 060 to TG 2472 0608 due to the NMP mapping extending the site considerably to the east.

July 2010. Norfolk NMP.
The site of the excavated Iron Age enclosures and land boundaries excavated in 1990 is visible on aerial photographs (S3-S7). The site, which has been extended considerably to the east as part of the NMP mapping, is now centred on TG 2472 0608.
The excavations revealed a series of pits, enclosures and boundary ditches dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age (S2). The NMP mapping provides the wider context for the excavation results, most significantly the rectilinear enclosure and boundary ditches that were investigated in the western corner of the excavation area. The western part of the enclosure had already been destroyed by quarrying prior to excavation. The main component of the site is the Early to Middle Iron Age (Period 2) enclosures, boundary ditches and fence lines. At least three distinct episodes of land division were identified within this broader period within the excavations (S2). The additional cropmarks visible on the aerial photographs would suggest that the development of land boundaries across the site may be more complex than the excavations indicated.
The earliest phase identified relates to the main rectilinear/polygonal enclosure at TG 2458 0609, the ditches of which were infilled with natural silting and settlement process. After silting it was succeeded by at least two boundary ditches; the southern edge of the enclosure was redefined by a shallower ditch, which formed part of an additional rectilinear enclosure to the immediate south. The northern part of the early enclosure is also overlain by another ditch, suggested in (S2) as being part of an elongated enclosure, 35m across, along with another ditch to the north. However the NMP mapping would suggest that these are more likely to relate to agricultural land boundaries, rather than an enclosure as such. The lack of excavated domestic features recovered during the excavations were potentially taken to indicate that all of the enclosures and boundaries at this site, relate to an agriculture and not a settlement site, suggesting that the enclosures are probably best understood as a series of substantial stock enclosures (S2). Although see below for discussion of possible discussion of roundhouses on the site.
The majority of the additional ditches identified as part of the NMP follow broadly similar alignments to those recorded as being Iron Age in date. A number of parallel linear ditches were mapped in the area of TG 2460 0615 and TG 2461 0606 (S4, S6), but it was not entirely clear whether these were archaeological and represented further components to the prehistoric landscape at this site or whether they related to more recent agricultural/cultivation marks. In addition to these some ditches (in the area of TG 2464 0604) were recorded (S3-S4) that would appear to represent a previously unidentified phase to the site, the date of which is unknown.
Three possible ring ditches were tentatively identified on the aerial photographs (S3, S5-S7); the westernmost of which is only visible in 1974 (S5-S7) and the eastern ring ditch is of uncertain archaeological origin. The size of the westernmost two ring ditches (10-12m in diameter) could indicate that they relate to Bronze Age or Iron Age roundhouses associated with one of the phases of settlement and activity recorded at this site. Although it is also possible that they represent the remains of Bronze Age round barrows, similar to those recorded to the south (NHER 53403).
Numerous pit-like cropmarks were visible on the aerial photographs, but were not mapped as none stood out as definitely being archaeological, and it was impossible to match up excavation plans sufficiently well enough with mapping to use as guide. Although it is likely that some of the pits visible relate to the Beaker (Period 1) and Iron Age (Period 2) date pits excavated on site (S2).
S. Horlock (NMP), 01 July 2010

Monument Types

  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH (Unknown date)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • OCCUPATION SITE (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • LITHIC WORKING SITE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POST HOLE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • RING DITCH (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC?)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)? (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • DITCHED ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • MORTUARY ENCLOSURE? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POLYGONAL ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SQUARE BARROW? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • STOCK ENCLOSURE? (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FURNACE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2406 A-D,Q,R,U,V,AS-AZ,ABB-ABJ,ABW-ACL,ACP-ADQ,ADU-AET,AFF.
---Unpublished Document: Peterson, J.. 2002. Iron Age and Roman square enclosures near Venta Icenorum: Roman changes in a prehistoric ritual landscape.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 192.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Bronze Age. Trowse with Newton.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Mystery folk who lived on the hill. 13 December.
<S1>Archive: NAU. 1985 to 1989. Norwich Southern Bypass Fieldwork Folder..
<S2>Monograph: Ashwin, T. and Bates S. 2000. Norwich Southern Bypass, Part I: Excavations at Bixley, Caistor St Edmund, Trowse. East Anglian Archaeology. No 91.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1959. NHER TG 2406ABA (CUCAP YI63) 17-JUN-1959.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1967. CUCAP ASJ55-6 03-JUL-1967.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1974. NHER TG 2406AK (CUCAP BPV28) 04-JUN-1974.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: NLA. 1974. NHER TG 2406U (NLA 2/AAX8) 14-JUN-1974.
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D. A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TG 2406Q (NLA 2/AAW14) 14-JUN-1974.
<S8>Monograph: Ashwin, T.. 2000. Norwich Southern Bypass Project.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 91 & 92.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1991. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1990. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt II pp 240-246. pp 245-246.

Related records

54269Parent of: Iron Age and/or early Roman date funerary monuments (Monument)
54252Parent of: World War Two searchlight battery (Monument)

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