Record Details

NHER Number:39221
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of Bronze Age barrow cemetery comprising four ring ditches

Summary

Cropmarks of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery comprising four ring ditches are visible on aerial photographs. These cropmarks were previously recorded as part of NHER 1009 (context 140). The cemetery has a linear form on a southwest to northeast alignment and includes other ring ditches and a long barrow to the northeast (NHER 16651, 16652). Two of the ring ditches recorded under this number have previously been partly excavated.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 33629 32071
Map Sheet:TG33SW
Parish:WITTON, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

January 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Cropmarks of four ring ditches, probably Bronze Age round barrows, are visible on aerial photographs (S1-10). These cropmarks are located at TG 3363 3208 and were previously recorded as part of NHER 1009 (context 140). They form part of a linear barrow cemetery on a southwest to northeast alignment. Two of these ring ditches have previously been partly excavated (S11).

The largest and clearest ring ditch cropmark is located at TG 3366 3211 and has a sub-circular plan. It has an external diameter of 25m with a ditch of up to 2.5m wide. A possible entrance, measuring 2.5m across, is present on the southwest side of the ring ditch and is defined by slightly swollen ditch terminals. A narrow section of ditch cropmark appears to close the entrance perhaps indicating several phases in the development of this monument. Immediately to the east at TG 3368 3211 is a second ring ditch. It has a sub-circular to sub-oval plan with a maximum external diameter of 19.5m. Its ditch is 1.5m wide with no visible entrances. This ring ditch does not lie in a direct southwest to northeast line with the other barrows in the linear cemetery. However, it appears to form a possible second, west to east, alignment with the ring ditch to its west and an outlying ring ditch 140m to the east (NHER 16650).The location of these two ring ditches is incorrectly plotted on the NLA 1:2500 map. The possible rectangular cropmark attached to the northeast side of the western ring ditch, which is plotted on this map, is not clearly visible on the aerial photographs. It appears to have been partly created by an unrelated northwest to south aligned ditch (NHER 1009).

A section was excavated across these ring ditches in 1966 but the reported results are confusing (S11-12). Among the finds was some medieval pottery. Although the depth of the sherds was recorded it is not clear which ones came from which ditch. Based on this the report concluded that the ring ditch was probably a medieval feature, or an earlier feature recut at that time. However, the published sections indicate that the medieval pottery need only have been present in the upper fill of the large ring ditch. Consequently, it is possible that this was a prehistoric monument that had remained as an earthwork. Natural silting had filled the lower part of the ditch and the upper part was filled in during the medieval period. The excavation also concluded that there was no evidence for a burial or a barrow mound even though only a small area inside the ring ditch was investigated. It was suggested that the soil from the large ring ditch had been thrown outwards possibly indicating that this was a small henge monument. It was also suggested that the soil from the larger ring ditch was deposited into the smaller ring ditch to its east, indicating that it was earlier in date (S11). The excavation is visible on aerial photographs dating to 19 September 1965 (S12).

The second two ring ditches in the southwestern part of the group are less clearly defined as cropmarks. On some aerial photographs they appear as solid, roughly circular, cropmarks (S2) but on others the ring ditches are also visible (S8-9). The first of these ring ditches is located at TG 3361 3207 and has an external diameter of 23m. The ditch appears to be approximately 1m wide and may have a 5m wide entrance on its southwest side. This ring ditch is located directly in line with the larger ring ditch in this group and a further ring ditch (NHER 16651) and long barrow (NHER 16652) to the northeast. The final ring ditch in this group is located at TG 3359 3203. It is sub-circular in plan with a 22m external diameter. It also has a 1m wide ditch with a possible entrance on its south side. This ring ditch is located slightly to the southeast of the main southwest to northeast alignment of the cemetery. The appearance of both of these ditches as solid positive cropmarks is interesting. It is possible that the solid cropmark represents the ploughed remains of the barrow mound, where the extra soil depth has resulted in increased crop growth.

These four ring ditches form the main part of a linear barrow cemetery. The cemetery extends for up to 575m on a southwest to northeast alignment. These ring ditches are located at its southwest end on the western side of a small hill. Another ring ditch and a long barrow are located at the northeastern end of the alignment on a small knoll (NHER 16651, 16652). An outlying ring ditch is located on the east side of the hill completing the known extent of the cemetery (NHER 16650).
(S1-11)
J. Albone (NMP), 18 January 2005

Monument Types

  • RING DITCH (Unknown date)
  • HENGIFORM MONUMENT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • BARROW CEMETERY (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • RING DITCH (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • ROUND BARROW (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • RING DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S 01>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1975. NHER TG 3332AK- AR (NLA 20/ADV45-51) 28-JUL-1975.
<S 02>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1976. NHER TG 3332AT-AV (NLA 28/AFH10-12) 01-JUL-1976.
<S 03>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3332AW-AX (NLA 52/AKJ7-8) 30-JUL-1977.
<S 04>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3332ABA-ABC (NLA 47/AJK23-25) 21-JUL-1977 NHER TG 3332ABA-ABC (NLA 47/AJK23-25) 21-JUL-1977.
<S 05>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1989. NHER TG 3332ABS-ABU (NLA 236/DWN9-11) 11-JUL-1989.
<S 06>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3332ABV (NLA 267/GBP3) 28-JUN-1990.
<S 07>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. NHER TG 3332ABZ (NLA 357/HHJ21) 15-AUG-1995.
<S 08>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. NHER TG 3332ACA (NLA 357/HHJ22) 15-AUG-1995.
<S 09>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. NHER TG 3332ACC (NLA 357/HHJ24) 15-AUG-1995.
<S 10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1976. MAL 76053 116 29-JUN-1976 (NMR) MAL 76053 116 29-JUN-1976 (NMR).
<S 11>Article in Serial: Lawson, A. J. 1983. The Archaeology of Witton, near North Walsham. East Anglian Archaeology. No 18. pp 20-21.
<S 12>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1965. MAL 65080 166-7 19-SEP-1965 (NMR).

Related records

16652Related to: Cropmark of possible Neolithic long barrow or enclosure (Monument)
16650Related to: Cropmark of probable Bronze Age round barrow (Monument)
16651Related to: Cropmark of probable Bronze Age round barrow (Monument)

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