Record Details

NHER Number:7235
Type of record:Monument
Name:Launditch linear earthwork


The Launditch linear earthwork is a substantial ditch and bank, the surviving length of which is about 0.9km long. Originally it was much longer and its route has been traced using landscape features, map evidence and aerial photographs for about 6km. It is intersected by a Roman road (NHER 2796). In the mid 20th century it was suggested that the Launditch is Early or Middle Saxon in date, and excavation in 1954 appeared to confirm this. More recent excavations, however, have opened up the possibility that it could date to the Iron Age. Whether it is Iron Age or Saxon in date, it would have formed part of a larger defensive system.


  • Aerial photograph of the Launditch, an Iron Age or Saxon defensive ditch and bank. This is an excellent example of an earthwork linear feature.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 927 166
Map Sheet:TF91NW

Full description

1954. Excavations at road crossing. See (S1)
Middle Saxon Ipswich Ware recorded but later reidentified as medieval.
See definitive publication (S2) and (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NAU) 6 July 1984.

Central section alone scheduled (but largely destroyed) and was large bank crossing Roman road. Remainder probably lesser boundary.
E. Rose (NAU), 6 July 1984.

30 August 1990. NAU air photography.

1992. Excavation.
At crossing of Roman road suggests Launditch is Iron Age, predating road, and not Early Saxon. Iron Age pottery, flints and slag.
See (S4).
E. Rose (NLA).

26 June 1996. NLA aerial photography.
Cropmarks of Launditch visible to south of Litcham Road (Context 1).
S. Massey (NLA) 24 September 2001.

1996. Watching brief.
See report (S5) in file.
A. Cattermole (NLA) 27 June 2005.

See (S6).
D. Robertson (NLA) 29 July 2005.

October 2005. visited surviving earthwork to north of Salter's Lane.
Earthwork is thickly overgrown - spruces, brambles, nettles, oaks, etc.
To south of Salter's Lane no obvious earthwork - a wide hedgerow marks the feature's location.
D. Robertson (NLA) 26 October 2005.

Monument Types

  • LINEAR FEATURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ROAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • MANUFACTURING DEBRIS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: HJD.
---Aerial Photograph: TF9216 A-F; TF9217 W,AL,ABA-ABE,ABQ-ABT.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF9216/H - J.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF 9216K - P.
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1993. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1992. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt IV pp 522-532. pp 523-524.
---Publication: Corbishley, M.J.. 1982. AM107.
---Unpublished document: Paterson, H.. Site visit notes.
---Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. Scheduling Report.
---Newspaper Article: 1992. Eastern Daily Press. 12 March.
---Unpublished document: Lewis, J.M.. 1954. Excavations on the Launditch, Litcham, Norfolk Sept-Oct 1954 Interim Report.
---Archive: 1954. Site Archive (copy).
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 548.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Beeston-with-Bittering.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Longham [2].
---Article in serial: Clarke, R. R. 1955. Other Archaeological Excavations, 1954. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 7 (for 1954) p 2.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Article in serial: Lewis, J. M. 1957. The Launditch: A Norfolk Linear Earthwork. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXI pp 419-426.
<S2>Article in serial: Wade-Martins, P. 1974. The Linear Earthworks of West Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVI Pt I pp 23-38. pp 24-32.
<S3>Unpublished document: Clarke, R.R.. Site notes.
<S4>Unpublished document: Penn, K.. 1992. NAU Report No. 1. Excavations on the Launditch (Site 7235) and Roman Road (Site 2796), Norfolk..
<S5>Unpublished document: Penn, K.. 1997. NAU Report No. 208. Excavation and Watching Brief on the line of the Besston-Gressenhall 11 Kv Interlink for Eastern Electricity..
<S6>Article in serial: Ashwin, T. 1999. The Launditch and its Setting: Excavations at the Launditch, Beeston with Bittering, and Iron Age features and finds from it vicinity. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 217-256.

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