Record Details

NHER Number:1514
Type of record:Monument
Name:Park Piece Roman Villa

Summary

This area contains the buried remains of a Roman villa situated on a valley slope above the River Ingol. In 1931 a small excavation in the eastern part of the site uncovered wall foundations and yard surfaces associated with hearths and large amounts of iron smithing slag, and in 1972 parts of the structure and the collapsed masonry of a substantial house were observed. This included a mosaic floor of the kind often found in high status dwellings. Roman period occupation of this site is thought to date to the third and fourth centuries. A geophysical survey of the surrounding area in 1995 produced evidence for a complex of intersecting boundary ditches and other structures, with magnetic anomalies indicative of extensive industrial activity. The ditches of a small yard adjoining the house, and a possible metal working hearth were also noted, as well as various overlapping enclosures and possible defensive ditches.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 68 33
Map Sheet:TF63SE
Parish:SNETTISHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1926-31. Excavation of Roman villa.
1959. Roman sherds found.
1972-73. Tessellated pavement found.
1978. Prehistoric flint scraper found.
1983-84. Prehistoric flint scrapers found.
1989. Roman tiles from pipe trench.
See full details, schedule and photos of 1989 event in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 November 1995.

1995. Geophysical Survey.
Magnetometry and resistivity surveys on site of Roman building. This work was undertaken in order to help improve the interpretation of the site.
See report (S2) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S3).
P. Watkins (HES), 8 March 2017.

January 2003.
Scheduling revised.
M. Horlock (NLA), 12 May 2003.

English Heritage Listing:
The monument includes the buried remains of a Romano-British villa and associated features, located above a valley slope on the north east side of the River Ingol and about 300m from the western line of the ancient route known as the Icknield Way. In 1931 a small excavation in the eastern part of the site uncovered wall foundations and yard surfaces associated with hearths and large amounts of iron smithing slag, and in 1972 parts of the structure and collapsed masonry of a substantial house were observed, exposed in the side of a lynchet (a ridge formed as a result of ploughing on a slope) alongside a track which runs north-south between two modern fields. A geophysical survey of the surrounding area in 1995 produced evidence for a complex of intersecting boundary ditches and other structures, with magnetic anomalies indicative of extensive industrial activity.
The lynchet overlying the site of the house forms a bank about 2m high on the western side, and the structural remains exposed in this scarp in 1972 included part of a mosaic floor of the kind often found in higher status dwellings in Roman Britain. To the west and south west of this there is a fairly level platform about 0.5ha in extent, and on this platform the geophysical survey showed evidence for ditches defining what was probably a small yard adjoining the house, with other features to the west of it which include a possible metal working hearth. The boundary of the platform above the slope of the valley appears on the plot of the survey as an anomaly which could be a lynchet or a boundary ditch contemporary with the villa. To the south of it is a linear feature interpreted as a former trackway running west-east and forking at the eastern end, and a broad, meandering feature which runs diagonally north westwards across the site from a point near the southern end of the house site towards a track known as Water Lane, is thought to mark the line of an old water course. The main working area appears to have been on the opposite side of the house, where the excavation in 1931 found evidence for a walled yard associated with metal working and the geophysical survey registered features defining various overlapping rectangular and sub-rectangular enclosures of different dates.
Among the most prominent of these features are three parallel ditches, running on a north northwest to south southeast alignment about 100m to the east of the site of the house. They are spaced 7m to 8m apart and probably mark a defensive boundary relating to the villa. Two parallel ditches a similar distance apart run across them on a roughly perpendicular alignment, from the north end of the house site eastwards, and what may have been a short length of this double ditch, filled with iron working slag, is noted in the earlier excavation records. A number of other rectilinear ditches cross the parallel ditches on slightly different alignments and, although some are unlikely to be contemporary, these may date from other phases of the occupation of the villa.
In the northern part of the area surveyed, to the west of the triple ditch and about 50m to the north and north east of the site of the house, an area of magnetic 'noise', and a corresponding spread of iron smithing slag recorded on the surface of the field, marked an area of intensive metal working centred on three strong magnetic anomalies characteristic of hearths or furnaces. Crossing this area is a sinuous, linear feature thought to be a trackway.
About 100m to the south there were indications of three more hearths or furnaces, associated with a series of rectilinear features defining small enclosures and possible buildings. Most of the pottery found on the site during the excavation and subsequently is dated to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, which suggests that this was the main period of occupation.
Information from (S1) and (S2).
Updated by H. White (NLA), 5 May 2009.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FORTIFICATION (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FURNACE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HEARTH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TESSELLATED FLOOR (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VILLA (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TESSERA (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Higher Level Stewardship
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: JQ 20-23.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF348.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Leah, M. D. and Flitcroft, M. 1990. Archaeological Surveys at Park Farm, Snettisham and Courtyard Farm, Ringstead. Norfolk Archaeological Unit.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 63 SE 22; TF 63 SE 34.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Monograph: Gregory, A. 1982. Romano-British Settlement in West Norfolk and on the Norfolk Fen Edge. The Romano-British Countryside, Studies in Rural Settlement and Economy. Miles, D. (ed.). British Archaeological Reports British Series No 103 pp 352-376. pt ii, pp 351-376.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Snettisham [3].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF348.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF348.
<S1>Designation: DCMS. [?]-2016. Scheduled Monument Consent. SAM Consent. DNF348.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Linford, P. 2009. Park Farm, Snettisham, Norfolk. Report on Geophysical Survey, 1995. Ancient Monuments Laboratory. 53/95.
<S3>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1996. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1995. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt III pp 397-412. p 408.

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