Record Details

NHER Number:1011
Type of record:Monument
Name:Early Saxon inhumation cemetery


An important example of an inhumation cemetery, dating to the Early Saxon period. Over 60 individual graves have been excavated by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit. Due to the conditions of the acidic soil, human remains were not well preserved, but a remarkable number of well preserved grave goods were recovered, including brooches, beads, shield bosses, spear heads, a sword, rings and gilded mounts, and a rare example of a Saxon lyre. The cemetery, situated on a small hill above a stream, was probably much larger, but gravel extraction may have destroyed many unrecorded graves.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3060 0018
Map Sheet:TG30SW

Full description

1973. Excavation.
Carried out by Norwich Museum, Norfolk Archaeological Unit and Norfolk Research Committee. Uncovering an early Saxon inhumation cemetery whilst digging gravel pits on a small hill which is above the Well Beck. It was estimated that at least half of the cemetery was destroyed but the north and east limits of the cemetery were clearly defined. Sixty-eight graves of 5th to 7th centuries were recorded but from this only thirty-one contained any traces of human bone due to the acidic soil, fifty-eight of the burials contained grave-goods.
The grave-goods were used to help determine the orientation and sex of the bodies. It was found that twenty-three were of undetermined sex, fifteen identified as male and twenty-five as female. It was assessed that from their size, eighteen of the burial may have contained children. Grave-goods that were found included shield bosses tinned and gold bronze mounts which were in the form of dogs with beaked heads, a sword and from the same grave the iron bands from a bucket, all of these finds were associated with male graves. The most common brooch was the flat bronze annular brooch found in nineteen of the graves; other brooches included small-long brooches, cruciform brooches and square-headed brooch. These were found together with bronze girdle-hanger, iron keys and a possible stringed instrument. Most of these finds are now in the NCM.
See (S1) for further information.
E. B. Green (NCM) 1973 amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES) 30 May 2013.’

Monument Types

  • CREMATION (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • CEMETERY (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VESSEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BEAD (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BEAD (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUCKET (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • GIRDLE HANGER (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • KNIFE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • LYRE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • PENDANT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • RING (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SHIELD (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SLEEVE CLASP (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SPEAR (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SWORD (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: XV1 to XX111.
---Article in serial: Brownswood, R. & Hines, J.. 1993. The alloys of a sample of Anglo-Saxon square headed brooches.. Antiquaries' Journal. Vol 73, p 1. p 1.
---Monograph: Green, B. & Rogerson, A.. 1978. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Bergh Apton, Norfolk.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 7.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Bergh Apton.
---Article in serial: Green, B. 1973. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Bergh Apton 1973. Norfolk Research Committee Newsletter and Bulletin. Series 2 No 11 pp 3-4.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Monograph: Penn, K. and Brugmann, B. 2007. Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Burial: Morning Thorpe, Spong Hill, Bergh Apton and Westgarth Gardens. No 119.
<S1>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1974. Medieval Britain in 1973. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XVIII pp 174-223. pp 180-181.

Related records - none

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