Record Details

NHER Number:38961
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of possible Iron Age to Roman field system


An undated field system is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. It is similar in form to possible Iron Age or Roman field systems (for example NHER 38896) located nearby and may also be Iron Age or Roman. However, post medieval and undated field systems (NHER 39023 and 39025) have also been recorded close by and this field system may instead be related to these.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2712 3630
Map Sheet:TG23NE

Full description

December 2004. Norfolk NMP.
Some of the cropmarks described below were previously recorded as NHER 36490 and 36491.

A field system is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs ((S1) to (S6)), centred at TG 2704 3637. It forms part of an extensive swathe of cropmarks, predominantly of field systems and trackways, visible on the gravel between Mundesley Beck and Brandfield Beck. This is mirrored to the north by sites between Mundesley Beck and the modern coastline. Although an Iron Age to Roman date has been put forward for the field system, the fragmentary nature of the cropmarks makes it difficult to distinguish isolated parts of the same system with any certainty. A general northeast to southwest orientation, or an alignment perpendicular to this, is a characteristic of the field system, compared to the more east to west alignment of some of the field boundaries recorded as NHER 39025, for example. It should be noted, however, that parts of the post medieval field system depicted on historic maps ((S7) to (S8)) follow the same alignment and in some cases even line up with ditches recorded as part of the earlier system. At TG 2738 3613 and TG 2754 3654, therefore, some of the ditches recorded as part of the site described here could in fact be part of the post medieval field system. This similarity of alignment indicates two things. Firstly, the Iron Age to Roman date for the field system should be treated with caution in the absence of supporting evidence. Secondly, the shared alignment of parts of the two field systems might demonstrate a certain continuity of land division between the two periods. The fact that some elements of the site overlie others probably reflects changes made since the field system was first laid out.

The field system is visible across an area measuring approximately 1.06km by 0.82km. It is broadly rectilinear or coaxial in pattern. It should be noted that due to a lack of suitable control points, the rectification of some of the oblique photographs used for mapping was poor. In addition, some features had to be sketched from unrectified parts of the photographs.

A similar pattern of rectilinear fields, frequently defined by trackways and orientated northeast to southwest, has been identified at other sites in the vicinity, for example NHER 38896. At Northrepps (NHER 38808) and Thorpe Market (NHER 38499) they were found in association with farmsteads or domestic enclosures of probable Roman date, and the site described here might also be related to a settlement site (NHER 11867, about 500m to the south). Furthermore, the field system shares an alignment with a multiple ditched boundary, NHER 31746, which lies to its east and itself probably forms part of the same field system. Such boundaries are typically thought to be Iron Age in date and related to large scale land division. At the same time, numerous other field boundaries, both undated and dating to the post medieval period (NHER 39023 and 39025), as well as a number of enclosures (for example, NHER 36491) have been identified across the same area. The complex spatial and chronological relationships between the various elements of the archaeological landscape are not fully apparent from the cropmark evidence, and parts of the field system may in fact be related to these other sites and vice versa. In particular, the distinction between the field system described here and elements of the post medieval field system depicted on historic maps has been difficult to make.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 3 December 2004.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • TRACKWAY (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1972. MAL 72052 186-7 22-JUN-1972 (NMR).
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1976. NHER TG 2736A (NLA 28/AFH5) 01-JUL-1976.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 2373-6 03-SEP-1988 (NCC 4567-70).
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 2736C-D (NLA 267/GBP9-10) 28-JUN-1990.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2636A-D (NLA 365/JFK1-4) 28-JUN-1996.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2736E-G (NLA 365/JFK5-7) 28-JUN-1996.
<S7>Map: James Wright. 1839. Southrepps Tithe Map (NRO DN/TA 190).
<S8>Map: James Wright. 1839. Gimingham Tithe Map (NRO DN/TA 294) ) ). 3 chains: 1inch.

Related records

31746Related to: Cropmarks of undated boundaries, enclosure and trackway (Monument)

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