Record Details

NHER Number:10270
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of a small Roman settlement or possible villa site

Summary

The cropmarks of a small Roman settlement or possible villa site are visible on aerial photographs in the north of the Cantley parish. In 1947 Roman pottery was collected from within the enclosure. Another possible Roman villa site has been identified approximately 2.5km to the northeast (NHER 21762). Lying in-between the two potential high status sites is an extensive agricultural estate consisting of trackways, enclosures and fields (NHER 6096).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TG30NE
Parish:CANTLEY, BROADLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

June 1947. Aerial photograph.
Rectangular ditched enclosure probably Roman farmyard.

1946. RAF basic aerial photography.
What looks like a building on northwest of the enclosure. Probably large rural building.

December 1947.
R. R. Clarke (NCM) found coarse Roman sherds on site.

See (S1), (S2), (S3) and (S4).
Copy card by R. R. Clarke (NCM).

June 1947, 2 July 1974, 28 June 1975 and August 1980.
Eagle Aerophotos and NAU aerial photographs.
Cropmarks of rectangular enclosure, with smaller enclosures within.
J. Bown (NAU), 11 November 1980.

N.B. R.R. Clarke's drawing on (S5) showing main rectangle aligned southwest to northeast with smaller rectangle outside to northwest touching parish boundary aligned north to south, does not tie with air photographs.
E. Rose (NAU) 21 June 1982.

June 2007. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmarks of a small Roman settlement or possible villa site are visible on aerial photographs in the north of the Cantley parish (S6-S9). Another possible Roman villa site has been identified approximately 2.5km to the northeast (NHER 21762). Lying in-between the two potential high status sites is an extensive agricultural estate consisting of trackways, enclosures and fields (NHER 6096). This site is located on the edge of a plateau overlooking the lower land and the river valley to the south.

The cropmarks at this site reveal that there were several phases of occupation and boundary definition and there are frequent places were components of the site appear to overlie one another. Given the limitations of aerial photograph evidence for establishing definite chronological sequence, only limited attempts will be made to interpret the various phases of this site. This site, along with NHER 6096 and 21762, require additional interpretative work, which is beyond the current scope of the NMP project, and additional fieldwork to fully understand this exceptional Roman landscape.

There appears to be two main phases of settlement. It could be suggested that the main broad ditched rectangular enclosure is the later of the two phases. This enclosure appears to overlie the eastern extent of a sub-rectangular enclosure, 73m by at least 35m. This has rounded corners and potentially has a ‘playing card’ shape. This enclosure follows a slightly different alignment to the main enclosure and this orientation is exhibited by a number of the rectilinear enclosed areas and boundaries to the west and southwest of the site. This alignment is also followed by the enclosure and associated fields to the west of the site (NHER 11865). It is possible that this phase is late Iron Age to early Roman in date. A small penannular ring ditch located at [1], 9m in diameter, is likely to represent the eaves-drip gully of a roundhouse associated with this phase of the site. A four-post structure at [2] located within this potentially earlier sub-rectangular enclosure (S7). It is possible that this is the remains of a grain store, 3-4m across, or a similar structure.

The broad ditched rectangular enclosure, measuring 125m by 80m and with a ditch varying in width from 1-3m, appears to have an entrance to the south. No sign of the large rural building in the northwest corner of enclosure, referred to above as being visible in 1946, was identified on the aerial photographs (S6). A series of agriculturally derived soilmarks seem to be the likley cause of the reported features. The southern part of the interior of the enclosure is heavily subdivided, in particular within the southeastern corner, with a series of rectangular enclosed spaces, ranging in size from 2-11m across. Any additional internal features are obscured by geological and natural cropmarks. There is some indication that these seemingly internal features may pre-date the main enclosure ditches, as some of the more minor ditches appear to continue across the line of the ditch. The fact that some of these internal ditches also appear to join or abut the boundaries of the earlier sub-rectangular enclosure could indicate the many of these features are earlier in origin than the enclosure, although it is possible that some continued in use.

The creation of the main enclosure would appear to mark a period of redefinition of the settlement in favour of one well-defined focus. The northern part of the enclosure joins onto a small section of trackway that follows a similar alignment to the parallel trackways that form an integral part of the agricultural landscape to the northeast (NHER 6096). Another trackway either underlies or overlies the northeastern corner of the enclosure. This follows a similar alignment to the earliest phase of the site and the occupation to the west and is therefore likely to represent part of this phase of the site.

Some boundaries interpreted as being post medieval in date were identified within this field, but were not included in the final NMP plot.
S. Massey (NMP), 28 June 2007.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • GRANARY? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • POST BUILT STRUCTURE? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • RING DITCH (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)? (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • TRACKWAY (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD?)
  • FARMSTEAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VILLA? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG3705A-E,H,K,L,N-R,T-AC,AS-AT,AW-ABH; RAF 3C TUD UK 70 pt III no 5203.
---Monograph: Bowen and Fowler. 1978. Early Land Allotment in the British Isles.. British Archaeological Report. Vol 48, p 99.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1997. TG 3705ACD - ACG.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 3705ABL, ABN - ABT, ACA - ACC.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Cantley.
<S1>Article in serial: -. 1948. Roman Britain in 1947. Journal of Roman Studies. Vol XXXVIII pp 81-104. p 91.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 194?. 22 March. 2.
<S3>Monograph: Bradford, J.. 1974. Ancient Landscapes: studies in field archaeology..
<S4>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 146.
<S5>Map: NCM. NCM Record Map.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: raf. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1606 3035-7 27-JUN-1946 (NMR).
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3705W (NLA 99/AQJ16) 06-AUG-1980.
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1975. NHER TG 3705B-E (NLA 19/ADU76-79) 28-JUN-1975.
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Eagle AeroPhotos Limited. 1947. NHER TG 3705L (D/19/ARCH/B) XX-JUN-1947.

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