Record Details

NHER Number:18432
Type of record:Monument
Name:Earthworks of possible henge or hengiform monument

Summary

The earthworks of a bank and ditch circular enclosure, possibly a henge or hengiform monument are located on the valley floor alongside the confluent of the Rivers Yare and Tud at Costessey. The location of the monument and some of its physical characteristics have resulted it being interpreted as a possible henge monument. The monument is somewhat smaller than the henge at Arminghall (NHER 6100), but is broadly comparable with the Markshall henge or hengiform monument (NHER 9582), which also occupies a relatively low-lying position alongside a river, close to the confluence of the Yare and the Tas Rivers.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 1959 1056
Map Sheet:TG11SE
Parish:COSTESSEY, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1947. RAF aerial photography (S1).
Between disused railway and River Tud, northwest of confluence of Rivers Tud and Wensum.
Circular earthwork.

September 1982. Visit.
38m diameter from bank top to top. Bank about 8m wide, 20cm high, possible break to northeast? External ditch about 5m wide, about 1m from base of ditch to top of bank. Best seen from north.
In low lying rough pasture. Reeds in ditch. Drainage ditch immediately to northeast.
Compare with Arminghall Henge (NHER 6100).
A. Lawson (NAU), 17 September 1982.

August 2009.
See (S2) for discussion of this site.
S. Tremlett, NLA.

The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TG 19622 10533 to TG 1960 1056.

August 2010. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of a bank and ditch circular enclosure or possible henge or hengiform monument are visible on aerial photographs on the valley floor alongside the confluent of the Rivers Yare and Tud at Costessey (S3-S8). The site is centred on TG 1960 1056. The monument consists of a broad inner bank, encircling ditch and possible external bank, up to 55m in total diameter. Several possible breaks or causeways in the bank are visible, although it is not clear whether these are original features of the monument or relate to later activity at the site, see below. The location of the monument and some of its physical characteristics have resulted it being interpreted as a possible henge monument (S2). The monument is somewhat smaller than the henge at Arminghall (NHER 6100), but is broadly comparable with the Markshall henge or hengiform monument (NHER 9582), which also occupies a relatively low-lying position alongside a river, close to the confluence of the Yare and the Tas Rivers. This monument also exhibits a broad inner bank encircled by a ditch, which possible traces of an external bank or mound to the north, see record NHER 9582 for details. However it is possible that the Markshall site represents the remains of an elaborate Neolithic and/or Bronze Age barrow. As discussed in (S2) the Costessey monument is likely to represent another example of Norfolk’s hengiform monuments and putative henges.
The main surviving component of the Costessey enclosure is broad banked enclosure, up to 9m wide and 48m in diameter. The possible breaks in the bank mapped, almost separating the monument in half, were most clearly discernable in 1951 (S5). Although it is possible these breaks in the bank are the result of later disturbance at the site. The eastern apparent causeway is coincidental with the point that the monument is slighted by a later drainage channel, and the eastern break may be related to the positioning of another later bank and ditch boundary and/or drain to the immediate west of the monument. This bank and ditch, while considered to be of probable post medieval date, has been included in the mapping for this site, as it provides some context for the remaining earthworks. The causeway mapped to the southeast of the monument is in part less well-defined on some of the aerial photographs, and shows no obvious sign of it related to later activity or disturbance to the site. It is possible however that this ‘causeway’ is partially formed by a difference in height along a continuous bank, as could be suggested from assessment of the 1951 (S5) aerial photographs. However the 1947 aerial photographs (S4) would appear to clearly show a reasonably well-defined causeway and it was these photos that were used for mapping this section of the monument.
The main ditch, up to 5m across, is wider and noticeably more pronounced and well preserved within the northern part of the monument. Traces of an inner ditch may be visible within the eastern part of the enclosure in February 1946 and April 1951 (S3, S5). The eastern part of the enclosure interior is also noticeably flatter ground and occasionally appears waterlogged. The western part of the enclosure interior has a more undulating surface and may have been covered partially with some of the bank material from the north. A possible outer bank may be visible to the north of this outer ditch in January 1956 (S6-S7), although as this feature cannot be discerned with confidence on any other aerial photographs, this additional component to the monument must be recorded as being somewhat uncertain.
S. Horlock (NMP), 18 August 2010.

Monument Types

  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • HENGE? (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • HENGIFORM MONUMENT? (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • ROUND BARROW (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: 5149 CPE UK 2019.1.
<S2>Article in serial: Ashwin, T. 2006. A Possible Henge Monument at Costessey. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 95-97.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/70 5035-6 28-FEB-1946 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1947. RAF CPE/UK/2019 5148-9 18-APR-1947 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/644 5013-4 20-APR-1951 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F21) 0012-3 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F22) 0038-9 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1957. RAF 58/644 5156-7 20-APR-1957 (NMR).

Related records - none

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