Record Details

NHER Number:34489
Type of record:Monument
Name:Early Neolithic site, Iron Age to Roman settlement and Early Saxon settlement

Summary

An excavation at this site and at NHER 37349 carried out by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit in 2000 revealed a nationally important Early Neolithic site made up of over two hundred pits, some of which were grouped into distinct clusters. The pits are probably the remains of an Early Neolithic settlement. The excavation revealed a series of Late Iron Age ditches and a post-built structure. In the Early Roman period a more extensive system of ditches was laid out, and by the end of the 2nd century AD the settlement included a timber aisled barn and other post-built structures. The excavation uncovered three circular Late Roman structures that were associated with metalworking. A Roman blacksmith's hoard, including an anvil, tongs, and several pewter plates, was found in a pit on the site. The excavation also revealed a small Early Saxon settlement, with ten sunken-featured buildings and four post-built halls. The settlement is associated with a nearby Early Saxon cemetery, see NHER 37349. Later features including a medieval boundary ditch and the crash site of a World War Two aircraft. Metal detecting and fieldwalking have recovered prehistoric flints, Iron Age pottery, Roman coins, pottery and metal finds, Early Saxon finds including a silver brooch, Middle Saxon pottery, and medieval and post medieval coins, pottery and metal finds.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 8850 8389
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:KILVERSTONE, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Pre 1994. No details given.
Roman coin of Diocletian.
E. Rose (NLA), 25 May 1995.

Before 12 May 1999. Metal detecting.
Medieval coin.
1 sherd of medieval pottery.
Medieval/post medieval metal objects.
See lists in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 21 December 2001.

January 2000. Systematic fieldwalking and metal detecting evaluation.
Bronze Age flint.
Prehistoric potboilers.
Roman sherd, medieval to post medieval sherds.
Medieval to post medieval metalwork and jettons.
See (S1) for further details.
See also (S11).
E. Rose (NLA), 10 February 2000.

June 2000. Evaluation trenching (southwest field, trenches 5-16).
Towards the southern limit of the site, a cluster of Neolithic pits was revealed. These pits produced relatively large quantities of worked flints, along with an interesting assemblage of late Neolithic pottery. All of the flint contained within the pits appears to be waste produced during the manufacture of tools, with the exception of two tools.
The densest concentration of archaeological features lay towards the north-east of the site. These features represent the remains of an Iron Age to Romano-British settlement, and include ditches, several pits and a possible post trench. A large natural hollow was found to contain Roman pottery and animal bone and appears to have been used as a midden. The settlement appears to be enclosed, and its occupation spans a long period from the late Iron Age to the 4th century AD, and many of the features have been recut or appear to replace each other on a common alignment.
See (S2) for further details.
See also (S10).
D. Gurney, 24 October 2000, amended by A. Cattermole (NLA), 14 August 2008.

December 2000 to June 2001. Excavation.

The excavations carried out by the CAU revealed a nationally important Early Neolithic site, made up of over two hundred pits and pit clusters (see also NHER 37349). This is the largest collection of Early Neolithic pits that has been excavated in Britain. The pits are the only visible archaeological remains of an Early Neolithic settlement or occupation site. Most of the pits contained pottery, worked flint and burnt organic materials. See (S2) for a detailed interpretation of the possible cultural meanings of the pit clusters. Four Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age pits containing pottery and worked flints and a group of six Beaker cremation burials were also excavated.

In the Late Iron Age, during the 1st century BC, a series of ditches and pits were laid out, as well as a possible four-post structure that could be interpreted as a raised granary or storeroom. In the Early Roman period, during the later part of the 1st century AD, a more extensive ditch and field system was laid out. Two post-built structures were excavated, these may have has a religious function, but are perhaps more likely to be agricultural structures. By the end of the 2nd century the settlement included a timber aisled barn and another rectangular post-built structure. The Early Roman ditched system was replaced in the 3rd and 4th centuries by a ditched system focused around a number of sub-rectangular enclosures. Three circular structures were also discovered, and one contained a pit with a wooden double-acting force pump – only the second British example to be excavated. The pump may have had many different uses, but the structure in which it was found could be interpreted as a blacksmith’s workshop, and the pump may have been used as part of the metalworking process. Evidence of metalworking was found during the excavation, and a 'blacksmith's hoard' was found in a pit. The hoard included an anvil, a sledgehammer head, tongs and other metal finds, including a number of pewter plates.
(For subsequent re-interpretation of thie pump, see below and Notes).

A small Early Saxon settlement was revealed during the excavation, as well as a small cemetery to the south (NHER 37349). Ten sunken-featured buildings or grubenhauser were discovered, as well as four post-built halls and several pits.

Later features included a medieval boundary ditch within a complex of parallel ditches and pits and the crash site of a World War Two aircraft. Parts of the aircraft including cockpit dials and rounds of ammunition were recovered.
See (S3), (S4) and (S5) for more detailed information.
See also (S9).
D. Gurney (NLA), 8 March 2002, amended by S. Spooner (NLA) 25 April 2006.

For a discussion of the blacksmith's hoard as a possible 'structured' or ritual deposit, see (S6).

November 2001. Metal detecting on spoil heap from archaeological excavation.
Foot fragment of silver radiate headed brooch, ?Alemannic type. Late 6th/early 7th century.
See photographs (S7).
A. Rogerson (NLA), 17 January 2002.

See report (S8) on Frankish brooch fragment by Barry Ager (BM) in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 28 March 2002.

2002. Metal detecting. Found on spoil heap at approximately TL 8848 8394.
Roman, Middle Saxon and medieval sherds.
See list in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 21 April 2003.

March-April 2002. Metal detecting.
Roman and medieval sherds.
Medieval token.
2 Late Saxon metal objects.
See list in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 20 May 2002.

March 2010. Norfolk NMP.
The assessment of the aerial photographs for this site as part of the Norfolk NMP project revealed no convincingly archaeological cropmarks.
S. Horlock (NMP), 24 March 2010.

For a note on the reinterpretation of the Roman force-pump, see Notes.
It is now concluded that there is no evidence to indicate the presence of a Roman pump.
D. Gurney (HES), 10 August 2011, 22 December 2011.

Monument Types

  • PIT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BUILDING (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • CREMATION (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • PIT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • POST HOLE (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • BUILDING (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Late Iron Age to Roman - 100 BC to 409 AD)
  • CREMATION (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HOLLOW (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MIDDEN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PUMP (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • GRUBENHAUS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • PIT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AIRCRAFT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BEAD (Unknown date)
  • WHETSTONE (Unknown date)
  • WHETSTONE (Unknown date)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT BOILER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • ARROWHEAD (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • BLADE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • BURIAL URN (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • BURIN (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • BURNT FLINT (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • CORE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • DEBITAGE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • KNIFE (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • POT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • SERRATED IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BORER (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FLAKE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • KNIFE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • LOOMWEIGHT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BLADE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRACELET (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CORE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COSMETIC SET (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLUE TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HAMMER (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HOARD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • KNIFE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MOULD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • OVEN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PICKAXE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLANE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLATE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • QUERN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SHEARS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SPOON (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TONGS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VESSEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VESSEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BURNT FLINT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • LOOMWEIGHT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon - 500 AD to 599 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • HOOKED TAG (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESS FASTENER (DRESS) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOKEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JETTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: I & RS. Digital finds image.
---Unpublished document: 2001. Treasure Report.. p 28-29.
---Thesis: Garrow, D.. 2006. Pits, Settlement and Deposition during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in East Anglia. during the Neolithic and Early Pits, Settlement and Deposition during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in East Anglia.
---Photograph: 2002. KTC 1-2, Early/Middle Saxon radiate headed brooch..
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Article in serial: Garrow, D., Beadsmoore, E. and Knight, M. 2005. Pit Clusters and the Temporality of Occupation: An Earlier Neolithic Site at Kilverstone, Thetford, Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol 71 pp 139-157.
---Article in serial: Garrow, D. 2007. Placing Pits: Landscape Occupation and Depositional Practice During the Neolithic in East Anglia. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol 73 pp 1-24.
<S1>Unpublished document: Garrow, D.. 2000. Cambridge Archaeological Unit Report No. 349. An Archaeological Evaluation by Field Survey at Norwich Road, Kilverstone, Norfolk..
<S2>Unpublished document: Garrow, D.. 2000. Cambridge Archaeological Unit Report No. 397. An Archaeological Evaluation by Trial Trenching at Norwich Road, Kilverstone, Norfolk..
<S3>Unpublished document: Garrow, D.. 2002. Cambridge Archaeological Unit Report No. 463. Archaeological Excavations at Norwich Road, Kilverstone, Norfolk..
<S4>Unpublished document: Garrow, D., Lucy, S. & Gibson, D. et al. 2004. Cambridge Archaeological Unit Report. Excavations at Kilverstone, Norfolk: The Neolithic pit cluster, later prehistoric, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon occupation and later activity.. Vol I and II.
<S5>Monograph: Garrow, D., Lucy, S. & Gibson, D.. 2006. Excavations at Kilverstone, Norfolk: an Episodic Landscape History.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 113.
<S6>Article in serial: Hingley, R.. 2006. The Deposition of Iron Objects in Britain During the Later Prehistoric and Roman Periods: Contextual Analysis and the Significance of Iron.. Britannia. Vol XXXVII, pp 213-57.
<S7>Photograph: Wicks, D.. 2002. KTC 1-2, LVJ 6-10.
<S8>Unpublished document: Ager, B.. Report on Frankish Brooch.
<S9>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 168.
<S10>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 714.
<S11>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 529.

Related records

37349Related to: Early Neolithic site and Early Saxon cemetery, Broom Covert (Monument)
25763Related to: Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age features and post medieval brick kiln (Monument)

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