Record Details

NHER Number:13032
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of Iron Age to Roman field systems and enclosures

Summary

A complex set of cropmarks dating to the Late Iron Age to Roman period are visible on aerial photographs. The site consists of a multi-phase series of enclosures, field systems and trackways. The main enclosure has three round houses within it. Fragments of Iron Age and Roman pottery has been found on the site, which is now preserved within a golf course.

Images

  • The cropmarks of a Late Iron Age to Roman enclosure and three round houses  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TF 66 38
Map Sheet:TF63NE
Parish:HEACHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Cropmarks of 3 irregular rectangular fields, surrounded by marks of old channels.
Unusual position for fields of this type.
E. Rose (NAU) 10 January 1978.

September 1991. Metal detecting and fieldwalking.
Context 2.
Produced no metal finds, apart from:
2 body sherds coarse dark grey sandy ware. Possibly Iron Age, but more likely 'Nar Valley' ware, Roman.
Large lump of iron slag in adherent molten copper alloy.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 1 October 1991.

1986.
Further air photography revealed continuation of cropmarks to northeast of present road bounding park, including a small square enclosure.
E. Rose (NLA) 19 March 1993

19 July 1990. NAU air photography.
Area greatly enlarged to include enclosures, 3 house circles, droves and field system.
D. Edwards (NLA)

Area west of railway line now owned by [1]. Only part of site, but containing the best bits.
D. Gurney (NLA), 19 December 1997.

Cropmark plot in file.

1999. Planning Permission granted for golf course, with land to be taken out of arable cultivation and with minimal disturbance in terms of bunkers etc.
D. Gurney (NLA).

March 2002. Norfolk NMP.
Complex cropmark site consisting of several ditched enclosures associated trackways and ditches defining fields and paddocks, visible on NLA oblique aerial photographs from 1989 (S1) to (S3) and OS verticals from 1967 (S4). The site as is it recorded covers an area of approximately 550m². It probably that the site is more extensive and area recorded is consistent with an area of favourable cropmark conditions and the available aerial photography.

The main component of the site is an almost square enclosure, 52m by 48m, at TF 6689 3857. A bank and outer ditch define the enclosure. The ditch is around 3.5m wide and the bank is up to 3m thick. There is a central entrance in the western ditch, however no corresponding gap can be identified in the bank. At this point a second, inner ditch can be seen to run alongside the bank for 20m, further acting to ‘block’ the entrance. An L-shaped ditch adjoins the outer boundary to the south of the entrance gap. This further acts to accentuate the architecture of the entrance to this farmstead. Within the interior of this enclosure are three ring ditches, their size and placement suggests they are round houses associated with the enclosure. The largest is positioned directly in front of the entrance at TF 6688 3887. The drip gully/ditch measures 17m across, with an entrance to the east, a pit like feature can be seen just within this gap. A second house is positioned to the north east at TF 6689 3858, measuring 14.5 in diameter. The entrance appears to be to the southwest. Gain pit like features can be seen associated with the entrance. A larger, central pit can be identified; this may be related to a central fire pit. The smallest roundhouse is 11.5 across, located to the south at TF 6690 3856. The drip gully is not continuous on this house, so a definite entranceway cannot be postulated.

A ditched trackway or road can be seen to run up to the north east corner of the main enclosure, running for a 120m, from TF 6697 3850 to TF 6690 3860. This track/road is 18m at its widest and is defined by ditches, up to 2.5m wide. The route itself produces a slightly negative cropmark response, up to 7m wide, suggesting that it was either a compacted or prepared surface, or possibly a raised routeway. The area immediately to the north of the main enclosure is covered by a later stream channel, however the cropmarks either side give the impression that this area might have formed an enclosure. The track turns to the west and appears to lead into this space, it possible that this is some sort of paddock for animals. To the north of this area is a third enclosure, measuring 62m by 44m, centred at TF 6685 3862. The enclosure appears to be defined by a double ditch and it is roughly rectangular in shape, although the north and south ditches are both slightly curved. Several linears were recorded within the north west corner of the enclosure, these may indicate a level of subdivision within this enclosure.

A fourth ditched enclosure id located at TF 6694 3550. It is rectangular in shape, measuring 44m by 30m. The ditch is around 2m wide. A small square enclosure, approximately 9m across is located within the north west corner of the enclosure. There is also a gap in the ditch at this point, it is not clear whether this is an entrance, as there is also another gap in the ditch to the south east of the enclosure. Also in this corner are two curvilinear features. It is not clear whether these are archaeological in origin, they may be natural gullies. To the immediate north of this enclosure are four parallel linears, these appear to be elements of trackways. A further enclosure is co-joined to the main trackway, however one of the trackway linears appears to cut across it, suggesting that some elements of this site are later. Several other linear and boundaries are co-joined to this trackway. A ditch runs from the main enclosure to the western ditch. To the south of this linear is a small sub-rectangular enclosure, 18.5 m by 10m. This appears to form a small paddock within the larger enclosed areas.

At the northern end of the main trackway a palimpsest of boundaries and trackway features, centred on TF 6695 3861. To the north are a group of broad linears, which are up to 2.5m wide. These appear to be co-joined to the main trackway and are likely to be part of field boundaries and enclosures related to that phase of the site. One feature that definitely seems to cut across the main track is a pair of linears running from TF 6694 3858 to TF 6687 3855, which are parallel and seem to be part of later, narrower trackway, 2m wide. This track also cuts through the main enclosure and roundhouses.

To the north of these features is another enclosure, located at TF 6695 3866. It is roughly square; 29m by 27m. The southeastern ditch is considerably wider than the rest, up to 3m across. Three sides of another enclosure are partially visible at TF 6685 3872. It appears to be 36m across and at least 31m wide, with ditches up to 2m across. Two linears run up to the southeastern corner of the enclosure, at a right angle to each other. The southeastern linear appears to run discontinuously for 105m, linking the northern enclosures with the main body of the site. At least part of this linear acted as a trackway. The northeastern linear runs for 52.5m and meets up with another group of features. At TF 6689 3875 there is a small square enclosure, 9m across, which is co-joined to a linear running northwest to southeast. To the east of these are several linear and rectilinear elements, centred at TF 6695 3878. The cropmarks in this area have less clarity than the rest of the site and little detail can be ascertained.

To the south of the site, at TF 6687 3848, is a large D-shaped double ditched enclosure. It measures 100m long by 80m wide. At the southwestern point of the enclosure the boundary appears to be a triple ditch. A linear cuts through this feature from TF 6689 3850 to TF 6682 3384 and may form part of a series of trackways, mentioned above. The northern portion of this enclosure has several subdividing ditches which appear to abut up to this northeast to southwest, linear. A linear also adjoins the northwest corner of the enclosure and continues east to west for 75m. This irregular shaped enclosure seems to sit within the southeast corner of a fairly regularly organised section of the site. Although it is possible that this enclosure and associated linear are earlier elements, which have been incorporated into a more developed system of enclosure. The ditches in this area act to divide the land up into fairly large and rectilinear blocks. The largest being approximately 120m by 40m. These ditches are likely to be defining fields.

To the immediate south of this area is a group of an interesting group of features, centred upon TF 6685 3841. These consist of a banked or compacted linear flanked either side by a closely set ditch. The bank/compacted surface is between 2m and 3m wide and the ditches are approximately 1m across. The linear runs from TF 6688 3840, for 20m in a northwesterly direction then turns 90°to the southwest and continues for potentially another 140m, although there are breaks in the continuity of the cropmark. The feature cannot be detected further than TF 6675 3835. At TF 6676 3836 the southern ditch turns 90° again and returns for up to 60m, although a 9m gap separates the two lengths of ditch. At TF 6685 3841, the compacted bank features branches off into two routes, the second 3 to 4° to the south of the main one. This branch can only be seen to continue to the west for 45m. The line may be continued for 85m to the east by two parallel ditches, running from TF 6685 3840 to TF 6692 3845. It is possible that these linears represent a banked and ditched enclosure, as may be suggested by the two right angled turns in the course. However, it seems more likely that these features represent some sort of roadway or surfaced track flanked by ditches. This is particularly suggested by the branching of the feature into two individual routeways. This group of features appears to be cut across by a boundary ditch, which is part of the regularly enclosed area to the north, suggesting that this may be a relatively early element to the site.

Separated by the line of the old railway is another dense area of cropmarks. Within which at TF 6708 3857 is a possible enclosure, only three sides of which are visible. The enclosure is a rectilinear and at least 42m by 40m. Several internal pit-like features and subdividing ditches can be seen. It is possible that this is an enclosed field although, the internal features may indicate occupation and activity within it. The enclosure is co-joined to a ditch to the southwest, which may link up with similar features on the other side of the site. This area of the site is characterised by extremely elongated rectangular enclosed areas, all roughly aligned northwest to southeast and measuring up to 50m long and 10m wide. This has a marked contrast to the large enclosed areas recorded to the west of the site. It is possible that these differences are reflecting temporal development of the enclosed landscape surrounding the site. Also within this area a great many pit and pit alignments can be identified. One alignment of four elongated pits runs from TF 6701 3854 to TF 6701 3857 and a second, of five, smaller pits, runs from TF 6709 3862 to TF 6710 3862. Areas of recut ditches can also be made out, these more ephemeral features may be indicative of the clarity of the cropmark response within this area, rather than their not being present in other areas of the site.

To the northern edge of this part of the site is a trackway, running from TF 6707 6865 to TF 6710 3862, which is possibly part of the more extensive and sinuous trackway identified to the east. This feature meanders from TF 6713 3859 to TF 6726 3852. It appears to be cut into and following the line of a roddon; a silted up watercourse.

A small number of pottery sherds were located at the site, dating from either Iron Age to Roman periods. This dating is consistent with the type of archaeological features found. Although it seems clear from the plan that the enclosures mapped relate to a gradual development over time, with two broad possible phases of boundary construction, probably originating in the Iron Age and developing through to the Roman period.
S. Massey (NMP), 15 March 2002.

December 2006
The area of the main enclosure continues to be left as rough ground within the golf course (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 1 December 2006

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • SITE (Unknown date)
  • D SHAPED ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • DOUBLE DITCHED ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • ROAD (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • SITE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • SITE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF6638 A-C,D,E-M,N-Q,Z-AP.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Serial: Massey, S., Brennand, M. and Clare, H. 2003. The National Mapping Programme in Norfolk, 2001-3. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 335-344. p 341.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Leisure plan 'threat to green aims'. 1 June.
<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TF 6638A (NLA 234/DRT1) 05-JUL-1989.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TF 6638AA (NLA/234/DLZ7) 05-JUL-1989.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TF 6638AP (NLA/242/DQP5) 19-JUL-1989.
<S4>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1967. OS/67069 161-2 26-APR-1967 (Norfolk SMR TF 6639B, TF 6638Y).
<S5>*Verbal Communication: Searle, P.. 2006. Searles Camping Ground Ltd/Searles of Hunstanton.

Related records - none

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