Record Details

NHER Number:37159
Type of record:Monument
Name:Multi-period activity and an Early Saxon cemetery at Roosting Hills (or Beetley) Quarry

Summary

Excavations and fieldwalking in 2002 and 2003 revealed two Late Bronze Age to Iron Age pits, a possible Roman field system, three Roman kilns, an Early Saxon cemetery and settlement and an undated ring ditch. The kilns dated to the first half of 2nd century AD and produced coarse ware pottery. The Early Saxon cemetery included at least ten cremations and one inhumation and the settlement featured grubenhauser (sunken featured buildings), post holes and pits. Finds include prehistoric flint artefacts, pottery of Bronze Age to medieval date, Roman coins and Early Saxon metalwork.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TF91NE
Parish:HOE, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

June 2002. Systematic Fieldwalking and Metal-detecting Survey and Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of proposed aggregate extraction area.
The field survey recovered 29 worked flints and two pottery sherds (1 Roman and 1 1 ?Early Saxon pottery). All of the metalwork found was post-medieval, including many that were probably associated with the past military activity on the site.
Eleven of the twenty trial trenches excavated revealed archaeological features. One trench contained six Early Anglo-Saxon urned cremations as well as undated gullies and ditches and a structural feature that likely represents a post-bedding trench of a timber structure. Three of the ditches in this trench appear to be elements of a possible Roman or post-Early Anglo-Saxon field system represented by ditches located in several trenches.
See report (S1) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S2).
Three WWII era military buildings associated with Swanton Morley airfield were also recorded prior to their proposed demolition; see NHER 32427, NHER 37166 and NHER 37167 for further information.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 24 January 2005. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 May 2015.

July-August 2002. Strip Map and Sample Excavation. Contexts 1000-1132.
A variety of archaeological features were identified and recorded following topsoil stripping of three large areas. No further evidence of the cremation cemetery was revealed. However, two isolated Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age pits were present as well as additional remains of Roman field systems/enclosures. Five pits, a posthole and two large, well-preserved pottery kilns, all of Roman date, were also identified. The kilns were planned but not excavated. Extensive modern ground disturbance was recorded on the east of the site, probably due to the construction of the airfield in World War Two.
See report (S2) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S3).
M. Horlock (NLA), 29 August 2003.

September-October 2002. Trial Trenching. Contexts 2000-2093.
Eleven trial trenches were excavated in order to establish the extent of the Early Saxon cemetery discovered during the first evaluation of the site.
Three further cremations and a single inhumation furnished with a rich array of grave goods were found. Evidence of a Saxon (probable Early Saxon) settlement in the form of grubenhaeuser (sunken featured buildings), pits and postholes was also recorded. Around the postulated area of Roman settlement several further ditches and a pit were found. Finds from the trenches include twelve pieces of struck flint (9 flakes, 2 blades and one retouched flake), three pieces of burnt flint, two Roman coins, three sherds of prehistoric pottery (one possibly of Iron Age date), a small quantity of Roman pottery (likely mid-1st to mid/late 2nd century AD) and Early Saxon pottery, an Early Saxon buckle, and an Early Saxon hook plate from a wrist clasp.
See report (S4) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S5).
J. Allen (NLA), 2 January 2003.

November 2002. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of stripping for quarry access road.
A single Early to Middle Saxon ditch was recorded along with two undated postholes. Finds included 12 sherds of Middle Saxon undecorated Sandy Ipswich-type ware, several hand-made sherds of Early-Middle Saxon date, and a single small flint blade.
See report (S6) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 24 January 2005.

December 2002-January 2003. Strip Map and Sample Excavation.
Topsoil stripping of the field previously investigated in July and August 2002 revealed an additional Early Saxon cremation burial and several undated features including a ring ditch, pits, and boundary/enclosure ditches. The cremation burial was plough damaged, but included 57 pottery sherds from two vessels. Phasing relied on stratigraphy and the relationships of features to previously recorded evidence due to an absense of diagnostic finds. Tentative dates of Late Roman and Early Saxon were assigned to three of the more substantial ditches. Surface finds included several sherds of Roman pottery
See report (S7) for further details.
M. Horlock (NLA), 29 August 2003.

July-August 2003. Strip Map and Sample Excavation
Excavation following topsoil stripping in the southwest of the field previously excavated by Herfordshire Archaeological Trust (July/August 2002 and December/January 2002-03) revealed a continuation of the Roman field system previously identified, a cluster of three Roman pottery kilns dating to about AD 100 to 150 (two of which had first been identified during the earlier phase of work), and a probable Roman timber structure. No further evidence for Saxon activity or cremation burials was recorded despite the known presence of such features in the immediately adjacent area. A number of undated pits were also recorded. Pottery recovered from the site included a few sherds of possible Late Iron Age date and a large assemblage of Roman wares primarily dated to the first half of the second century.
See report (S8) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 24 January 2004.

August 2003. Trial Trenching.
Eighteen trial trenches located in the south-western corner of the site revealed a pit containing Roman pottery, an undated pit and undated ditches. A small quantity of struck flints was also recovered, including a possible polished axe fragment which could be of Neolithic date.
See report (S9) in file.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 24 January 2004.

August 2005. Excavation.
Excavation of final part of northern field, included the area of the cremation cemetery identified during earlier trial trenching.
To the north-east of the site five prehistoric pits were revealed. One pit contained the remains of a neolithic/ mid Bronze age vessel. The other pits contained burnt and struck flint. A second cluster of pits was located to the north- west of the site, and consisted of four pits. They contained Iron age and late Iron age/ Roman pottery. A further two pits were identified in the south- western part of the site. One contained Bronze age/ Iron age pottery and the second contained burnt flint. Two Roman ditches were identified in the north- eastern part of the site. Roman pottery was recovered from both ditches. Sixteen Anglo- Saxon cremations were excavated, along with one or possibly two graves. The acidity of the soil removed all traces of human bone. The cremations were located in the north- eastern and south- eastern sectors of the site. Vessels in varying condition were retrieved from the cremations. Four ditches, believed to be Anglo- Saxon were revealled, all aligned north-west south-east. Early/ mid Anglo- Saxon pottery was recovered from the fill. Three pits located in the western part of the site are believed to be contemporary due to their close proximity and similar profiles. The fill of one of the pits produced Anglo- Saxon pottery. A further pit was located close to the graves, and may represent the remains of a plough damaged cremation. A cluster of pits were located in the western part of the site and contained early Anglo- Saxon pottery. Further undated pits were located across the site.
The graves and cremations revealed here, and the previously recorded evidence indicates that this was a cemetery of some size. It may be related to the larger cemetery of Spong Hill, located 1km away, as it is broadly contemporary.
Final report awaited. See interim report (S10) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2010.64).
H. White (NLA) 15 January 2009. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 11 May 2019.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • GULLY (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Undated)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH? (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 1000 BC to 401 BC)
  • PIT (Late Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 1000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STRUCTURE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • KILN (Roman - 100 AD to 150 AD)
  • CINERARY URN (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • CREMATION CEMETERY (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • GRUBENHAUS (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • PIT (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BLADE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BURNT FLINT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD? (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Late Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 3000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Late Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 1000 BC to 42 AD)
  • VESSEL (Late Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 1000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Late Iron Age - 100 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • KILN FURNITURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SLAG (Post Roman - 410 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ANNULAR BROOCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BURIAL URN (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • SLEEVE CLASP (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Document: Trimble, G.. 2002. Letter.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. and Underdown, S. 2002. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation on land adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 770.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Wilkins, B. and Wotherspoon, M. 2002. Land adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley and Hoe, Norfolk. Archaeological Investigation. Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust. 1161.
<S3>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2003. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 368-384. p 373.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. 2002. Report on a Second Phase of Archaeological Evaluation at land adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 765.
<S5>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 578.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. 2004. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Roosting Hills Quarry, Beetley, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 930.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Sutherland, M. and Roberts, B. 2003. Land adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley and Hoe, Norfolk. Archaeological Investigation. Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust. 1260.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Wilkins, B. and Roberts, B. 2003. Land adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley & Hoe, Norfolk. Archaeological Investigation. Archaeological Solutions. 1435.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: Wilkins, B. 2003. Land Adjoining Swanton Morley Airfield, Beetley and Hoe, Norfolk. An Archaeological Evaluation. Archaeological Solutions. 1404.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Unger, S. 2008. Beetley Quarry, Beetley, Norfolk. Archaeological Excavation. Area B Contiguous. Interim Report. Archaeological Solutions. 3019.

Related records - none

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