Record Details

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

Summary

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.

Images

  • 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

Location

Grid Reference:TF 927 166
Map Sheet:TF91NW
Parish:BEESTON WITH BITTERING, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK
LONGHAM, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK
MILEHAM, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK
WENDLING, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

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) and (S4) in file. The results of this excavation are also summarised in (S5) and reported in (S11).
E. Rose (NAU) 6 July 1984.

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.
Investigations at crossing of Roman road (NHER 2796) suggests Launditch is Iron Age, predating road, and not Early Saxon. Iron Age pottery, flints and slag.
See report (S6) and published article (S7) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S8).
The associated microfiche archive is now held by the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2008.54).
E. Rose (NLA). Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 2 March 2014 and 5 May 2019.

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.
Monitoring of Beeston-Gressenhall 11Kv cable trench just south of the junction between the Launditch and Salters Lane. The uppermost fill of the ditch was seen as a change in colour in the base of the cable trench. These observations confirmed that the ditch (and its accompanying earthwork) continued south of the junction with the Roman road.
See report (S9) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S10).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2008.54).
A. Cattermole (NLA) 27 June 2005. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 2 March 2014 and 5 May 2019.

1999.
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 - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Early Saxon - 410 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

  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Undated)
  • 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.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1981. Company helped uncover the past. 28 February.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF208.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF9216/H - J.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF 9216K - P.
---Unpublished Document: Paterson, H.. Site visit notes.
---Unpublished Report: Ministry of Works. Scheduling Report [generic record].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Dig dates ditch to the Iron Age. 12 March.
---Archive: 1954. Site Archive (copy).
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 91 NW 6 [12].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Beeston-with-Bittering.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Longham [2].
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Beeston with Bittering [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Beeston with Bittering.
<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 Report: Lewis, J. M. 1954. Excavations on the Launditch, Litcham, Norfolk Sept-Oct 1954 Interim Report.
<S5>Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. 1955. Other Archaeological Excavations, 1954. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 7 (for 1954) p 2.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1992. Excavations on the Launditch (Site 7235) and Roman Road (Site 2796), 1992. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 1.
<S7>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.
<S8>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.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1997. Excavation and Watching Brief on the line of the Beeston-Gressenhall 11 Kv Interlink for Eastern Electricity. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 208.
<S10>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.
<S11>Serial: 1954. Council for British Archaeology Group VII Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries. No 1. p 2.

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