Record Details

NHER Number:13946
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval/post medieval chalk mine


A medieval or post medieval chalk mine was discovered in 1949 during groundworks for drainage. The main chamber was filled with chalk rubble, but the soil also contained animal bone from a variety of species including horse, cat, and dog as well as goose eggshell and 16th century pottery. Marks from metal hammers were visible on the chamber walls and two blocked tunnels were identified, one running north and the other east.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 8680 8349
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

August 1949. Casual Find.
A chalk mine was found by mechanical excavator and visited by G. M. Knocker and Bruce-Mitford.
The chamber measured 3.7 x 1.5m (12 x 5ft) and was of uncertain depth as it was full of chalk rubble. The roof of the chamber was (12ft) below ground level and locked tunnels ran off to the north and east. The soil in the chamber contained traces of fire, bones of horse, cat, dog, ox, pig, sheep, and chicken, goose eggshell, marine and land snails, and 16th century glazed pottery. Other shafts and chambers were seen in a narrow trench in the same lane. There were allso marks of metal hammers.
Finds in Thetford Museum.

The trench in which the chalk mine was found was three feet long and machine excavated to a depth of 11ft 6 in. In addition to the first chamber, a second chamber was broken into at the northeast end of the trench. Between the two chambers a vertical shaft was noted in profile, while to the southeast a large pit or shaft cut from the surface was observed. R.L.S. Brice-Mitford has suggested that the mine was used to cut good quality chalk clunch for building, and that the feature at the northeastern end of the trench represents infilling of an open quarry which was initially worked prior to tunnelling along suitable chalk strata.
See (S1) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 18 August 2008.

Monument Types

  • FLINT MINE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DENE HOLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HEARTH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TL 88 SE 13 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: Bruce-Mitford, R. L. S. 1952. A Late-Medieval Chalk-Mine at Thetford. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXX pp 220-222. pp 220-221.

Related records - none

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