Record Details

NHER Number:2318
Type of record:Monument
Name:Neolithic flint mines, Massingham Heath


This is the site of a Neolithic flint mine, and large amounts of Neolithic flint implements and antler picks have been recovered from the large hollows and pits on the site, which are probably the remains of mine shafts. A prehistoric settlement was also identified on this site in the late 19th century.

Images - none



Full description

Neolithic flint mines.
Red deer antlers in gravel pit.
Called 'prehistoric village' and celt manufactory on Heath east of Massingham to Grimston road.
Antler picks, flint tools.
R. R. Clarke (NCM)

'Layer of Cissbury flakes 1 foot thick below turf' around pit.
J. E. Sainty exhibited Cissbury axe to Prehistoric Society of East Anglia on 11 October 1934.

Greenland Fishery Museum (Antler), Edinburgh Natural Museum of Antiquities (Massingham Heath flints) [(S1) actually only mentions in passing the previous discovery of 'Cissbury Type' implements at Massingham. P. Watkins (HES) 18 December 2012]

The position of the mines is uncertain.
There are flint quarries on Massingham Heath south of Little Massingham Heath and about 182m to 228m (200 to 250 yds) northeast of the junction of that belt with main Grimston to Great Massingham Road, (refers to site NHER 2339?) and 45m (50yds) south of that road, and about 182m (200 yds) east of that point are 2 hollows, grass covered, about 9.1m (30') diameter and about 3m (10') deep, perhaps those referred to in (S2).
In March 1936 [1] found no traces of worked flint on those sites.
But at 3 other pits southeast of 1st named (one being on ploughed land) more productive of flakes (round their margin + 4 to 5 scrapers).
R. R. Clarke (NCM)

Details and (S2) in file.

The Norwich Castle Museum's Plowright collection (NWHCM : 1891.17) comprises a range of Neolithic worked flints, at least some of which are probably from this site. These objects are listed in (S3) as:
3 fragmentary antler picks, 1 flint hammerstone 3 cores, 3 flakes, 1 large, long-pointed piercer (illustrated in (S2)), 1 retouched flake, 6 axehead roughouts and 1 pick.

The Norwich Castle Museum's Thatcher, Schwabe and Nicholls collection (NWHCM : 1946.164.31) also includes Neolithic worked flints that were probably found at this site. These are listed in (S3) as:
1 struck Levallois core (S4), hundreds of flakes (including one struck from Levallois core), 9 scrapers, 1 possible rough-out for discoidal knife (S5), 1 retouched flake and 1 waisted core tool (S6).

See NHER 59923 for details of Palaeolithic worked flints possibly found at or near this site by C. B. Plowright and others during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
P. Watkins (HES), 8 December 2013.

Monument Types

  • FLINT MINE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLINT MINE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • SETTLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Associated Finds

  • AXEHEAD (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • PICK (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Archive: 1899. Cambridge Archaeological Society Collection. vol IX. vol.IX p.94. p 94.
---Article in Serial: Clark, W. G. 1906. The Classification of Norfolk Flint Implements. Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Vol VIII Pt 2 (for 1905-1906) pp 215-230. pp 223-226.
---Article in Serial: Clarke, G. and Piggott, S. 1933. The Age of the British Flint Mines. Antiquity. Vol 7 No 26 pp 166-183. pp 167-183.
---Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. p 67.
---Publication: April 1908. Antiquary.
---Publication: Clarke, W. G. 1922. Our Homeland Prehistoric Antiquities: and how to study them. p 103.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 72 SE 29.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Publication: Evans, J. 1897. The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain. 2nd Edition. p 83.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Massingham (Great).
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: 1912. Summary of Proceedings. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol I Pt II (for 1910-11 and 1911-12) pp 233-241. p 240.
<S2>Article in Serial: Plowright, C. B. 1892. Neolithic Man in West Norfolk. Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Vol V Pt 3 (for 1891-92) pp 250-264. pp 250-264.
<S3>Thesis: Healy, F. 1978. The Neolithic in Norfolk. p 463-465.
<S4>Illustration: Healey, F. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Neolithic flint Levallois core. Film. 1:1.
<S5>Illustration: Healey, F. Unknown. Drawing of a Neolithic flint possible discoidal knife roughout. Film. 1:1.
<S6>Illustration: Healey, F. Unknown. Drawing of a Neolithic flint waisted flint core tool. Film. 1:1.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2020 Norfolk Historic Environment Service