Record Details

NHER Number:9527
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Multi-period finds

Summary

In 1915 several thousand worked flints were recovered in this field by H. H. Halls and W. G. Clarke. This large assemblage included many cores, scrapers, knives, axeheads and a range of other implements. There is a degree of uncertainty over the date of much of this material, although a number of subsequent sources described this as a Mesolithic site. Although much of what was found was probably Neolithic there was clearly an earlier component to the assemblage, with at least one Late Upper Palaeolithic blade and a number of Mesolithic flints identified amongst both the artefacts now in the Norwich Castle Museum and those figured in Clarke and Halls' original article.
Fieldwalking between 1988 and 1992 recovered additional worked flints including potentially Lower-Middle Palaeolithic flakes, Late Upper Palaeolithic/Mesolithic blades and flakes and Neolithic polished and flaked axeheads, pick, adze, scrapers, cores and flakes. This material is therefore broadly consistent with the earlier discoveries, being indicative of limited activity during the Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, with much more sustained activity on the site during the Neolithic. Metal-detecting undertaken around the same time recovered a small number of metal objects, including a Middle Bronze Age looped palstave; a Middle Saxon brooch; medieval copper alloy vessel legs and lead bird feeder and post-medieval dress accessories. Two undatable stone hones and copper alloy casting waste were also recovered.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 20 09
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

During the 20th century a large number of worked flints were recovered from this field, which is adjacent to the north bank of the River Wensum.

EARLY DISCOVERIES BY W. G. CLARKE AND H. H. HALLS

Early 1915. Fieldwalking (Context 1).
In December 1915 W. G. Clarke and H. H. Halls published an account of a prehistoric flint-working site that they had discovered at Hellesdon (S1). This "station, apparently with a homogenous culture" was found within an arable field described as "…an area of about 12 acres...on the north side of the river Wensum, from which it is about 74 yards distant at the south-east corner of the field, and 150 yards distant at the south-west corner". Halls designated this location his Site 12 and this was probably either Clarke's Site 24 or his Site 29 (his two known Hellesdon sites). According to (S6) this was probably Clarke's Site 29, although the nature of the finds subsequently donated to the Norwich Castle Museum (see below) makes it much more likely that this was actually his Site 24. See NHER 8085 for additional information on Clarke's Hellesdon finds, including the material from his Site 29.
Clarke's Site 24 was previously recorded as NHER 8099.

It is recorded in (S1) that flint implements, flakes and potboilers were abundant in the lower half of the field, becoming much sparser on the higher part. The flints assemblage comprised "...several thousand cones, flakes and chips…but the number of implements retained was 482". Only a small proportion were patinated. It is stated that some of the 'cones' were deliberately made implements, rather than cores. Although some may be discoidal knives or scrapers it seems likely that the majority were conical, single platform blade or flake cores. Five of these 'cones' and a flint axe from this site are illustrated in (S1), which also includes black and white plates showing a number of other implements. HES holds the originals of three drawings (S2) (S3) (S4) and one plate (S5). Halls and Clarke described a wide range of implements, including retouched flakes, various scrapers, awls, borers, knives, disc-shaped implements, choppers, at least one flaked axehead, hammerstones and a single "pygmy".

The date of the flints from this site is not entirely clear from the published sources. Halls and Clarke noted that it was not a typical Neolithic assemblage and suggested on balance it was "more likely to be Late Palaeolithic than Neolithic", although the "pygmy" may belong "…to the Tardenoisian group and therefore be Neolithic". It should be noted that the term Mesolithic was not in use at the time this discussion was written. The 'pygmy' is noted in (S8) and the site was first described as Mesolithic in (S9). It was subsequently listed as one of several Mesolithic "valley sites" in (S10). It is one of the sites mentioned in (S11), although it is noted that only "…a single pigmy point [was] present among the several thousand specimens examined…".

Both Halls and Clarke subsequently gave material from this site to the Norwich Castle Museum. Halls' flints are listed simply as "undated prehistoric flint implements" (NWHCM : 1924.83.12), whereas Clarke's finds (assuming this was indeed his Site 24) are recorded as "Mesolithic flint implements" (NWHCM : 1926.32.24). A small collection of "pygmy flint implements" that was donated by Clarke in 1924 includes one that was recovered at this site (NWHCM : 1924.86.1).

Although the site is described by (S6) as probably Neolithic it is clear that at least some earlier material was also recovered. It is noted in (S12) that one of the flints is a Late Upper Palaeolithic crested long blade. This entry makes reference to (S1) rather than a museum accession number suggesting this identification was made from one of the plates (almost certainly Plate XXXVIII No 3). It is also recorded in (S12) that the material in the NCM from Clarke's Site 24 includes 1 Late Upper Palaeolithic crested flake (>100mm long) and 1 blade core. The former is probably the same object as a plough-damaged Upper Palaeolithic crested blade from Hellesdon that was indentified in the NCM's W. G. Clarke collection by R. Jacobi and described in (S13).

A number of Mesolithic finds from this site are also noted in (S14); these listed as 1 tranchet axe, 2 cores, 2 blade/flakes and 2 microliths. Most were presumably identified in the NCM's collections, although it is possible that some of these objects were also identified from the illustrations in (S1). The individually-accessioned microlith in the NCM (NWHCM : 1924.86.1) is the only Mesolithic object from the site described in (S13).

The finds from this site were described by F. Healy (S7) as seeming "largely Mesolithic", although she did identify a number of Neolithic implements , including 1 leaf-shaped arrowhead, 2 flaked flint axes and at least 1 polished axehead (again it is unclear whether these identification were partly from the published article). The polished axehead was presumably recovered after the publication of (S1), which notes that no such objects were found.

A comprehensive list of the finds from this site in the Norwich Castle Museum's Mesolithic collections was compiled by P. Robins (NCM) in December 2007. The flints in the H. H. Halls collection (NWHCM : 1924.83.12) are listed as comprising:
1 Mesolithic microlith and 31 blade cores.
1 Early Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead.
2 ?Early Neolithic ?laurel leaves.
21 mostly Neolithic scrapers.
1 undated prehistoric (most likely Neolithic?) pick, 1 rod, 2 piercers, 1 core table, 23 flake cores, 10 blades and 37 flakes.
1 post-medieval gunflint.
The finds from Hellesdon in the W. G. Clarke collection appear to be exclusively from hist Site 24 (NWHCM : 1926.32.24), with the large number of blade and flake cores present making it highly likely that this is indeed material from this site. These finds are listed as comprising:
6 Mesolithic blade cores.
7 undated prehistoric scrapers, 2 piercers, 2 notched flakes, 2 miscellaneous retouched pieces, 12 flake cores, 2 crested flakes, 3 blades and 25 flakes.
It is noted that apart from the blade cores little of this collection is likely to be Mesolithic.
Information from NCM records, see copies in file.

Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014 and 6 October 2014.

SUBSEQUENT DISCOVERIES

1976. Stray Find.
Found on surface at TG 203 097:
1 undatable prehistoric flint chopper made on thermal flake. Donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1976.437).
Information from (S15).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014.

1988. Fieldwalking and metal-detecting.
Finds recovered during fieldwalking with detector (site extended to east and west form Context 2):
1 ?Palaeolithic flake.
1 ?Upper Palaeolithic flint blade.
1 Mesolithic/Neolithic flint blade core, 1 backed knife, 2 flaked axeheads.
1 Neolithic flint adze (possibly unfinished), 1 pick, 1 hammerstone, 2 end scrapers, 8 other scrapers, 4 retouched flakes, 1 ?retouched flake, 3 cores (including unstruck discoidal core), 3 blades (1 large), 7 flakes and 1 flaked piece.
1 Middle Saxon brooch.
2 medieval copper alloy vessel legs and 1 lead birdcage feeder.
1 post-medieval buckle, 1 hooked fastener and 2 stair rod holders.
2 undatable schist hones (1 very large) and copper alloy casting waste.
Flints identified by J. J. Wymer (NAU) and other objects by S. Margeson (NCM). See lists in file.
Compiled by W. Milligan (NCM). These discoveries were reported in (S16).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014.

Pre 27 April 1989. Fieldwalking.
1 Palaeolithic flint flake.
1 Late Upper Palaeolithic/Mesolithic flint crescentic-backed flake, 3 blades, 4 blade-like flakes and 1 crested flake.
Identified by J. J. Wymer (NAU). See list in file.
Compiled by W. Milligan (NCM), 27 April 1989.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014.

Late 1989-June 1990. Fieldwalking and metal-detecting.
1 Mesolithic flint tranchet axehead and 1 backed flake.
1 Early Neolithic flint leaf arrowhead.
1 Neolithic part-polished flint axehead, 1 broken flaked axehead, 1 blade and 3 cores.
1 Middle Bronze Age copper alloy looped palstave. See copy of drawing (S17) in file.
1 post-medieval gunflint.
Identified by J. J. Wymer (NAU), see list in file.
Compiled by W. Milligan (NCM), 7 December 1989 and June 1990.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014.

Pre November 1992. Stray Find.
1 Late Neolithic flint tranchet arrowhead, chisel ended.
Identified by J. J. Wymer (NAU).
Compiled by W. Milligan (NCM), 4 November 1992.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2014.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Upper Palaeolithic to Late Mesolithic - 40000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Bronze Age - 1600 BC to 1001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • CASTING WASTE (Unknown date)
  • WHETSTONE (Unknown date)
  • BORER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BORER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CHOPPER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CORE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • CRESTED BLADE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • NOTCHED FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • PICK (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • ROD (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic to Late Mesolithic - 40000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • BLADE CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • CRESTED BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • CRESTED BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • CRESTED BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic to Late Mesolithic - 40000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Upper Palaeolithic to Late Mesolithic - 40000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Upper Palaeolithic to Late Mesolithic - 40000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • AWL (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC?)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • CORE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • KNIFE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • KNIFE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Early Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 10000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • TRANCHET AXEHEAD (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • TRANCHET AXEHEAD (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • ADZE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BLADE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BLADE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • CORE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • CORE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • DEBITAGE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • END SCRAPER (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • LAUREL LEAF? (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 3001 BC?)
  • LEAF ARROWHEAD (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • LEAF ARROWHEAD (Early Neolithic - 4000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • PICK (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE? (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • TRANSVERSE ARROWHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • PALSTAVE (Middle Bronze Age - 1600 BC to 1001 BC)
  • BROOCH (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BIRD FEEDER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRESS FASTENER (DRESS) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GUNFLINT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GUNFLINT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G and Halls, H. H. 1916. Cone Cultures in the Wensum Valley. A: Hellesdon. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol II Pt II (for 1915-16) pp 194-203.
<S2>Illustration: Watling, W. T. 1915. Drawing of a Mesolithic/Neolithic flint 'cone' from Hellesdon. Card.
<S3>Illustration: Watling, W. T. 1915. Drawing of a Mesolithic/Neolithic flint 'cone' from Hellesdon. Card.
<S4>Illustration: Watling, W. T. 1915. Drawing of a Mesolithic/Neolithic flint 'cone' from Hellesdon. Card.
<S5>Photograph: 1915. Flint implements "from a Station at Hellesdon". Black & white. print.
<S6>Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Hellesdon.
<S7>Thesis: Healy, F.. 1978. The Neolithic in Norfolk. pp 531-532.
<S8>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1919. The Distribution of Flint and Bronze Implements in Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt I (for 1918-19) pp 147-149. p 149.
<S9>Publication: Clark, J. G. D. 1932. The Mesolithic Age in Britain. p 58.
<S10>Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. p 65.
<S11>Article in Serial: Sainty, J. E. 1945. Mesolithic Sites in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXVIII Pt IV pp 234-237. p 235.
<S12>Article in Serial: Robins, P. and Wymer, J. 2006. Late Upper Palaeolithic (Long Blade) Industries in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 86-95. p 94.
<S13>Archive: R. Jacobi. -. Jacobi Archive. 575; 10266.
<S14>Monograph: Wymer, J. J. and Bonsall, C. J. (eds). 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites in England and Wales with a Gazetteer of Upper Palaeolithic Sites in England and Wales. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. No. 20. p 207.
<S15>Archive: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S16>Article in Serial: 1989. Archaeological Discoveries for 1988. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 34 pp 32-61. p 39.
<S17>Illustration: Sussams, K. 1990. Drawing of a Middle Bronze Age looped palstave. Paper. 1:1.

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