Record Details

NHER Number:38488
Type of record:Monument
Name:Two undated submerged linear features

Summary

Two undated and submerged linear features are visible on aerial photographs within the Blakeney Harbour Channel. These features appear to form linear and ‘L’ or ‘V-shaped’ arrangements. It is possible that these are components of fish traps or structures relating to mussel beds laid in the channel. The exact date of these features is not known, although it is possible that they are Saxon, medieval, post medieval or even modern in date. Similarly-shaped features have been identified nearby within the same channel (NHER 38487 and 38489 to 38490). Also to the east is a large complex of cobble and shingle-built enclosures and structures relating to the post medieval mussel industry in the Blakeney Harbour channel (NHER 27739 and 27740), although these may possibly relate to a different period of exploitation.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 9943 4541
Map Sheet:TF94NE
Parish:MORSTON, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
STIFFKEY, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

March 2004. Norfolk NMP.
Two undated and submerbed linears are visible on aerial photographs within the Blakeney Harbour Channel (S1). These features appear to form 'L' or 'V-shaped' arrangements. It is possible that these are components of fish traps or mussel beds laid in the channel. The exact date of these features is not known, although it is possible that they are Saxon, medieval or post medieval or even modern in date. Similar shaped features have been identified nearby within the same channel (NHER 38487, 38489 and 38490). Also 500m to the east is a large complex of cobble and shingle built enclosures and structures relating to the post medieval mussel industry in the Blakeney Harbour channel (NHER 27739), although these may possibly relate to a different period of exploitation.

As these features are only partially visible within the water it is hard to discern the actual structure. It is possible that they are fish traps constructed from either wattle, posts or even low flint cobble walls. Similar inter-tidal structures in the channel have been proven to be constructed from flint cobbles, see NHER 27739. In this case the submerged 'enclosure' was interpreted as a modern mussel bed. However the 'V' shape is particularly reminscent of a fish trap. The V-shape design could have trapped fish as the tide receded along the channel. These structures often have a net or enclosure at the ‘eye’ of the 'V' to collect the fish, such as the fish trapped mapped during the Suffolk Coastal NMP in Holbrook Bay (S2). Fish weirs and traps of this design are often Saxon in date, however, they can be much later, possibly medieval to post medieval in date. In this case a post medieval or later date may be most likely due to recorded change to the course of the Blakeney channel, which is known to have altered significantly in the last few centuries. This channel has lengthened and shifted almost 3km to the west since the late 16th century (Hooton, 1996,13-22) (S3), taking in the location of the structures. The changes were caused by the shifting formation of a large shingle spit to the north, plus a reduced tidal discharge and scour caused by the reclamation of the surrounding saltmarsh.

The site is centred on TF 9943 4541. Although due to a lack of control points to aid the location of the feature from the aerial photographs, it is possible that this grid reference may be inaccurate. Hopefully the NAU coastal field survey will provide further locational information for the site.

Both of the submerged V-shaped linears are approximately 50m in length. The western feature runs from TF 9936 4543 to TF 9935 4540 and the eastern example from TF 9952 4541 to TF 9949 4539. It is possible that this eastern component of the site is related to or part of NHER 38486, a possible post medieval or modern mussel bed to the east. Although the aerial photograph recitifications would indicate that they are not located in the same part of the channel. However this may be a product of inaccurate coastal rectifications from two different sets of aerial photographs.

Information has been provided by [1] concerning the modern and 19th century mussel industry in this part of the channel. This included the construction of low flint walls and water breaks along the Blakeney Channel to create mussel beds. It is possible that these features are related to that activity.
S. Massey (NMP), 3 March 2004.

May to November 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Survey inter-tidal survey.
Soft and dangerous mud meant that it was only possible to survey the area of the site from distance. It was not possible to identify any features.
D. Robertson (NLA), 27 June 2006.

Monument Types

  • FISH TRAP (Post Roman - 410 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FISH WEIR (Post Roman - 410 AD to 1900 AD)
  • OYSTER BEDS (Post Medieval to Modern - 1540 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Environment Agency. 2002. EA 035 AF/02C/339 5858-9 19-JUL-2002 (EA).
<S2>Unpublished Document: Hegarty, C. & Newsome, S.. 2005. The Archaeology of the Coast and the Inter-tidal Zone. A report for the National Mapping Programme.. pp 61-62.
<S3>Publication: Hooton, J.. The Glaven Ports. p. 111ff.

Related records - none

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