Record Details

NHER Number:29561
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of probable prehistoric curvilinear enclosure

Summary

A curvilinear enclosure, probably of Bronze Age or later prehistoric date, is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs. It lies in an area of known prehistoric activity, material of this date, including worked flints of possible Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age date, having been found in the vicinity (NHER 19345-6 and 19296-8). A probable Bronze Age linear barrow cemetery (NHER 50816) lies some 600m to the northeast. Its somewhat irregular, curvilinear shape, comparable with other enclosures mapped elsewhere in Norfolk, also suggests a prehistoric date. Its function is unclear; while its size would be suitable for a settlement site, its location in an area of known funerary activity means that a ceremonial function cannot be ruled out. A second, smaller, more circular enclosure (NHER 50758), which lies 50m to the northeast, is similarly enigmatic, although in this case a possible roundhouse is visible within it.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2708 1514
Map Sheet:TG21NE
Parish:RACKHEATH, BROADLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

OF THE CROPMARKS DESCRIBED BELOW, ONLY THE LARGE, OVOID ENCLOSURE IS STILL RECORDED UNDER THIS NUMBER. THE SMALLER CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE OR RING DITCH TO ITS NORTHEAST, TOGETHER WITH THE RING DITCH WITHIN IT, IS NOW RECORDED AS NHER 50758. THE ‘OTHER CROPMARKS’ FORM PART OF AN EXTENSIVE GROUP OF MULTI-PERIOD FIELD SYSTEMS (NHER 50811) AND, WHERE POSSIBLE, HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO VARIOUS OF THE PHASES IDENTIFIED AMONGST THEM.

30 June 1986. NAU aerial photography (S1).
Ovoid enclosure and ring ditch, and other cropmarks.
D. Edwards (NAU).

19 June 1996. NLA aerial photography (S2).
Cropmarks of ovoid enclosure still visible.
The ring ditch appears to have internal features, possibly traces of a concentric ring ditch in the centre.
S. Massey (NLA) 13 August 2001.

28 June 1996. NLA aerial photography (S3).
Ovoid enclosure and double concentric ring ditch visible.
At least two entrances can be seen along the large enclosure ditch.
S. Massey (NLA) 28 September 2001.

January 2008. Norfolk NMP.
Of the cropmarks described above, only the large, ovoid enclosure is still recorded under this number. The smaller circular enclosure or ring ditch to its northeast, together with the ring ditch within it, is now recorded as NHER 50758. The ‘other cropmarks’ form part of an extensive group of multi-period field systems (NHER 50811) and, where possible, have been assigned to various of the phases identified amongst them.

The curvilinear, ovoid enclosure described above is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (S1)-(S6), centred at TG 2708 1514. It is probably of Bronze Age or later prehistoric date. It lies in an area of known prehistoric activity, material of this date, including worked flints of possible Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age date, having been found in the vicinity (NHER 19345-6 and 19296-8). A probable Bronze Age linear barrow cemetery (NHER 50816) lies some 600m to the northeast. The enclosure’s somewhat irregular, curvilinear shape also suggests a prehistoric date, and is comparable with other enclosures mapped elsewhere in Norfolk (for example, see Albone et al. 2007 (S7)). Its function is unclear; while its size would be suitable for a settlement site, and this may be reflected by the recovery of finds from the site, its location in an area of known funerary activity means that a ceremonial function cannot be ruled out. The second, smaller, more circular enclosure or ring ditch (NHER 50758), which lies 50m to the northeast, is similarly enigmatic, although in this case a possible roundhouse is visible within it.

The enclosure is an irregular oval in plan, measuring approximately 97.5m long and up to 84m wide. A probable narrow entrance on its southeast side is defined by one inward and one outward turning ditch. A second possible entrance on its northeast side (at TG 2712 1516; suggested above) has not been mapped, as its appearance varies on different aerial photographs, perhaps indicating a re-working of the enclosure circuit, with the removal or insertion of a temporary entrance. The enclosure is surrounded by the cropmarks of multi-phase field systems (NHER 50811). While some of these appear to respect its boundary, others, seemingly of the same phase, overlay it, suggesting that even if remnants survived as earthworks the enclosure had fallen out of use by the time they were established.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 22 January 2008.

May 2008. Norfolk NMP.
J.D. Hill (British Museum) has suggested that this enclosure bears some similarity to the Iron Age site of Little Woodbury in Wessex. Certainly, the plan and aerial photograph reproduced in Cunliffe 1975 (S8) would suggest that the outline and dimensions of the two sites are broadly comparable, although such is the geographic distance between the two areas that any superficial similarity must be treated with a degree of caution.
Also see (S9).
S. Tremlett (NMP), 19 May 2008.

Monument Types

  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • OVAL ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Unknown date)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC? to 701 BC?)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • OVAL ENCLOSURE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC? to 701 BC?)
  • OVAL ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Bronze Age - 2350 BC? to 701 BC?)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • OVAL ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1986. NHER TG 2715A-G (NLA 173/DAU2-7, 10) 30-JUN-1986.
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2715P - R (NLA) 19-JUN-1996.
<S3>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2715S - AB (NLA) 28-JUN-1996.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 0136-7 07-AUG-1988 (NCC 3281-2).
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2715Q-R (NLA 362/JDR2-3) 19-JUN-1996.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2715W-AB (NLA 365/FFM1-6) 28-JUN-1996.
<S7>Monograph: Albone, J., Massey. S & Tremlett, S.. 2007. The Archaeology of Norfolk's Coastal Zone. Results of the National Mapping Programme. English Heritage Project No: 2913.
<S8>Publication: Cunliffe, B.. 1975. Iron Age Communities in Britain.. 3rd Edition. Fig 11.2; Pl 7a.
<S9>Article in Serial: Horlock, S., Albone, J. and Tremlett, S. 2008. The Archaeology of Norfolk's Aggregate Landscape: Results of the National Mapping Programme. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt III pp 337-348.

Related records - none

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