Record Details

NHER Number:3382
Type of record:Monument
Name:Roman iron smelting and smithing site, Wicken Quarry

Summary

A Roman iron smelting site was revealed during excavations in the 1950s after scatters of iron slag were found on the surface. The excavations discovered several shaft furnaces that were dated to the 2nd century. Several pits containing evidence of smithing activity were also found, although there was no evidence to suggest that iron artefacts were being produced on the site. Two possible Iron Age pits were also excavated.

Images

  • A 2nd century AD Roman iron smelting furnace excavated in the 1950s at Leziate  © Norfolk County Council
  • A reconstructed ironworking shaft furnace from evidence excavated at Ashwicken.  © Norfolk County Council

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6832 1803
Map Sheet:TF61NE
Parish:LEZIATE, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1958 to 1959.
Excavation of Roman ironworking site.
See (S1).

1966.
Roman coin found.

1978.
Roman sherds and flints.

1998.
Evaluation revealed Roman slag, medieval/post medieval finds.
Finds in NCM and KLM.
See full list in file.
See also (S2).
E. Rose (NLA) 18 January 1999.

September 2007. ALSF NHER Enhancement Sun-Unit D.
The gradiometer survey and NAU evaluation at this location are now recorded as NHER 34086. A second evaluation by APS on the same site is recorded as NHER 38183.
1958 to 1959. Excavation.
The site represents a 2nd century iron smelting site which is of unique type as far as this country is concerned. Iron has been smelted in shaft furnaces with the aid of an induced draft using nodular carbonate ores obtained locally. At one stage the blooms produced by these furnaces were worked-up on site, as shown by the existence of smithing hearths and deposits of hammerscale.
After the site went out of use the working hollow was backfilled with slag and was used for dumping rubbish. As yet we do not know know how many other similar sites there are the area. There are probably several, and at least one in the area of scattered slag to the west of the excavated area.
Information from (S1).
M. Dennis (NLA), 26 September 2007.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • PIT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FURNACE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • QUARRY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HOOK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MOUNT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLATE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SLAG (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Article in serial: 1959. Other Archaeological Excavations 1958. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 11 (for 1958) pp 1-2. p 1.
---Article in serial: 1960. Journal of Roman Studies. Vol L, p 227. pp 227.
---Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 61 NE 3 [5].
---Photograph: 1958. M.764-M.765.
---Photograph: Fig 14-15.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Leziate.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Leziate [2].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Leziate.
---Article in serial: 1960. Other Archaeological Excavations 1959. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 12 (for 1959) p 2.
---Article in serial: Clarke, R. R. 1960. Stone Implement Petrology. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 12 (for 1959) pp 2-3.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Article in serial: Tylecote, R. and Owles, E. 1961. A Second-Century Iron Smelting Site at Ashwicken, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 142-162.
<S2>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 377.

Related records

34086Related to: Post medieval and undated ditches and low-density scatter of finds of prehistoric to post-medieval date (Monument)
38183Related to: Site of possible medieval settlement, Holt House Farm (Monument)

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