Record Details

NHER Number:34099
Type of record:Monument
Name:Iron Age ironworking site and multi-period features and finds

Summary

Excavation at this site revealed evidence for Early to Middle Iron Age iron working. Nine furnaces were excavated. These were probably used for smelting iron. They were found with Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age pottery and might be the earliest evidence for iron working anywhere in the country. Field survey also recorded finds dating from the Neolithic to post medieval periods.

Images

  • Early ironworking furnaces excavated at Aldeby.  © NAU Archaeology

Location

Grid Reference:TM 4570 9302
Map Sheet:TM49SE
Parish:ALDEBY, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

December 1998. Systematic Fieldwalking and Metal-detecting Survey.
Field survey in advance of mineral extraction.
Neolithic to Bronze Age worked flints.
Roman coin and pottery.
Medieval coin.
15-17th century button.
Various late post-medieval finds.
See report (S1) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S2).
E.Rose (NAU) 7 December 1998. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 April 2015.

March 1999. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of topsoil stripping revealed that this site was rich in archaeological remains.
A series of features associated with the manufacture and/or processing of iron in the Middle Iron Age was recorded. This is very significant, and is amongst the earliest recorded in this country. A small contemporary pit containing considerable quantities of pottery and flint was also recorded. This discovery of flint tools in association with Middle Iron Age pottery adds further support to the suggestion that the use of flint tools alongside metal implements continued well into the Iron Age.
Roman activity was represented by a single ditch.
Two or possibly three Early Saxon sunken featured buildings were also recorded.
Undated features included ditches, small pits and post holes.
See report (S3) and archive summary (S4) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S5).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.415).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 16 April 2008. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 17 May 2019.

8 June 2000. Field Observation.
In his journals J. J. Wymer recorded visiting the RMC pit at Aldeby in June 2000, which was probably this site. He noted a complex section of till cutting into pale sand and gravel (total depth c. 5m) overlying a reddish layer at the top of a well-bedded sand and gravel (total depth c. 9m). A single artefact was recovered - a poor quality, rolled finishing flake found on the disturbed base of the pit. This object is now part of the J. J. Wymer Collection held by Royal Holloway (W4436).
Information from (S6).
P. Watkins (HES), 27 February 2014.

April 2008. Outline publication synopsis.
This site will be included in a forthcoming monograph investigating Iron Age sites in Norfolk.
See (S7) for further details.
S. Howard (NLA), 5 January 2010.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • IRON FURNACE (Middle Iron Age - 400 BC to 101 BC)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Middle Iron Age - 400 BC to 101 BC)
  • PIT (Middle Iron Age - 400 BC to 101 BC)
  • SMELTERY (Middle Iron Age - 400 BC to 101 BC)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • GRUBENHAUS (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • AXEHEAD (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • HEARTHSTONE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • TUYERE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • QUERN (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUTTON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUTTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Havercroft, A. 1998. Archaeological Evaluation Field Survey Fieldwalking and Metal Detector Report, Aldeby Quarry Extension, Priory Farm, Aldeby, Norfolk. The Guildhouse Consultancy.
<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 369.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. 2001. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at Aldeby Quarry Priory Farm, Aldeby. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 545.
<S4>Unpublished Report: Trimble, G. 2001. Aldeby Archive Summary.
<S5>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 522.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Wymer, J. J. Journal. No 8. p 32.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Watkins, P. 2008. The Archaeology of Iron Age Norfolk: an outline publication synopsis. NAU Archaeology. 1716a.

Related records - none

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