Record Details

NHER Number:1308
Type of record:Monument
Name:Thornham Fort

Summary

The cropmark remains of an Iron Age/Romano-British fort (possible signal station) are clearly visible on the aerial photographs (examples of which are CUCAP 1959 and RAF 1946 images). The area of these remains seems to be within the confines of an enclosure, of which only 2 sides appear to be complete (the north and west sides). In the northeast area of the site (outside the fort, but within the enclosure) there are other cropmarks to be seen including linearfeatures and a possible ring ditch/hut circle). Excavations in the 1950s and 1960s revealed that the enclosure was constructed in the 1st century AD, and it appears to post-date the Roman invasion of AD 43 although it was probably the product of native planning rather than Roman construction. Several shallow graves containing human skeletons were found within the enclosure indicating that the site was re-used as a cemetery in the Early to Middle Saxon period. The NAU carried out an archaeological evaluation on the site in 1996 but no finds or features were recovered.

Images

  • Aerial photograph showing the cropmarks of Thornham Fort.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TF 7256 4256
Map Sheet:TF74SW
Parish:THORNHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1946.
Aerial photograph discovery of Iron Age/Roman fort, suggested signal station.

1948 to 1950.
Roman sherds, tile, coins found.

1952.
Part excavation.

1955 to 1960. Excavation.
Full excavation revealed an Early Saxon/Middle Saxon inhumation cemetery within the Roman signal station. Approximately half the burials contained graves goods which include iron knives, small buckles, a silvered escutcheon from a hanging-bowl, and a bronze disc with animal interlace. Beaker pottery was also recovered.
Further excavation in 1960, on the Anglo-Saxon cemetery brought the number of graves known up to 24.
See (S6) for short summary and information from (S7).
M.Langham-Lopez (HES), 22 February 2013.

1996.
Evaluation of adjacent plot proved negative.
See full details (S5), schedule, plans, press cuttings in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 13 November 1996.

19 June 1995. NLA air photography.
Cropmarks visible.
H. Clare (NLA), 18 April 2001.

April 2002. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmark remains of the Iron Age/Roman fort (possible signal station) are clearly visible on the aerial photographs (two examples of which are CUCAP 1959 (S1) and RAF1946 (S2) aerial photographs). These are centred on NGR TF7253 4255. They take the form of a possibly sunken/ditched area in the centre with a bank around it and a ditch around that. The dimensions of the site are approximately 85m by 70m. It is possible that the central area is not sunken at all and just gives the appearance of this in comparison to the colouring of the bank cropmark around it.

The area of these remains seems to be within the confines of an enclosure, of which only 2 sides appear to be complete (the north and west sides). The north side runs from TF7264 4267 to TF7247 4260 and is ca. 190m long. The west side runs from TF7247 4260 to TF7250 4248 and is about 135m long. There is also a short length of a third side that runs from TF7250 4248 to TF7253 4248; at this point it appears to abut the wooded earthwork/embankment (which is plotted on both the current OS map (S3) and the 2nd edition (S4)).

In the NE area of the site (outside the fort, but within the enclosure) there are other possible cropmarks that can be seen (linears and a possible ring ditch/hut circle?) forming some sort of complex (centred on TF7263 4261). However these are only visible on the CUCAP images from 1959 (S1). (It is possible that some of these features might be at least a part of the site previously recorded under NHER 1340. However, the photograph and features noted as NHER1340 were not entirely apparent).
H. Clare (NMP), 29 April 2002.

July - August 2007. Metal detecting.
Romano-British pin or hairpin.
See description in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 1 September 2007.

Articles [Eastern Daily Press, 1950,1952, 1952,1952] missing from file. [J Yates, 19 July 2010].

Monument Types

  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Beaker to Medieval - 2300 BC to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Late Bronze Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FORT (Late Bronze Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FORT (Late Bronze Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • HUT CIRCLE (Late Bronze Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • RING DITCH (Late Bronze Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SIGNAL STATION (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • INHUMATION CEMETERY (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • INHUMATION CEMETERY (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)

Associated Finds

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RING (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • GAMING BOARD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HAIR PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SPOON (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BEAD (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • DISC (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • HANGING BOWL (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • KNIFE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BEAD (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • DISC (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • HANGING BOWL (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Higher Level Stewardship
  • Higher Level Stewardship

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). TF 7242E,F,AC-AF.
---Article in serial: Clarke, R. R. 1957. Norfolk Research Committee Excavations 1956. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 9 (for 1956) p 1.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TF 7242AG - AH.
---Article in monograph: Gregory, T. 1986. Enclosures of 'Thornham' Type in Norfolk. Excavations at Thornham, Warham, Wighton and Caistor St. Edmund, Norfolk. Gregory, T. and Gurney, D.. EAA No 30 pp 32-35.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1952. 12 September.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1952. 27 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1952. 19 September.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1950. 20 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1952. Thornham find may be Roman Signal Station.. Unknown..
---Newspaper Article: The Country Scene. 1975. A mixed bag.. 20 December.
---Article in monograph: Gregory, T. 1986. An Enclosure of the First Century AD at Thornham. Excavations at Thornham, Warham, Wighton and Caistor St. Edmund, Norfolk. Gregory, T. and Gurney, D.. EAA No 30 pp 1-13.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Thornham.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Thornham.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Thornham [4].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Thornham.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Thornham [2].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Thornage [3].
---Article in serial: Clarke, R. R. 1956. Norfolk Research Committee Excavations, 1955. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 8 (for 1955) p 1.
---Article in serial: 1961. Norfolk Research Committee Excavation, 1960. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 13 (for 1960) p 1.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1959. NHER TF 7242AM (CUCAP XU71) 13-APR-1959.
<S2>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1571 3047 07-JUN-1946 (Norfolk SMR TF 7242A).
<S3>Map: Ordnance Survey. 2000. Ordnance Survey 1:10000 (revised 2000).
<S4>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-7. OS 25" 2nd edition (1902-7) sheet VI.3.
<S5>Unpublished document: Forrest, K.. 1996. NAU Report. Pre-determination Archaeological Evaluation. Lyng Farm, Thornham, Norfolk..
<S6>Article in serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, J. G. 1958. Medieval Britain in 1956. Medieval Archaeology. Vol I (for 1957) pp 147-171. p 148.
<S7>Article in serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1962. Medieval Britain in 1960. Medieval Archaeology. Vol IV (for 1961) pp 309-339. p 309.

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