Record Details

NHER Number:43425
Type of record:Monument
Name:Possible prehistoric ring ditches, southwest of High Barn Farm

Summary

Two very large prehistoric ring ditches are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs of this location. The fact that a group of possible Neolithic/Bronze Age barrows have been identified to the south may indicate this was an important arera for funerary/ceremonial activity in prehistory.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 4831 1853
Map Sheet:TG41NE
Parish:SOMERTON, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

March 2006. Norfolk NMP.
The larger of the ring ditches described below was previously recorded as part of NHER 13179.

Two very large ring ditches are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (S1)-(S5). The larger, southwestern ring ditch is centred at TG 4831 1851; the smaller ring ditch to its northeast is centred at TG 4834 1858. Their date and function is unknown. Other ring ditches identified approximately 325m to the south (for example NHER 13178 and 15514) have been interpreted as the remains of Bronze Age and possibly Neolithic burial mounds. The features recorded here appear to be part of a class of ring ditch known from cropmarks elsewhere, including Cambridgeshire, which are defined by narrow ditches and are too large to represent normal round barrows, as described in Wilson 2000 (S6). These may have had a ceremonial or funerary function in the prehistoric period. They are surrounded by the cropmarks of a multi-period field system (NHER 43426); their relationship with the field boundaries that overlap them is not known, but given their possible prehistoric date, and the fact that the field system probably post-dates the ring ditches to the south, they are likely to be earlier features.

The larger ring ditch is almost perfectly circular in plan. It measures approximately 70m in diameter and is defined by a ditch 1-2m wide. A break in the ditch on its north side could be a genuine causeway but could equally reflect the cropmark being masked, as is the case with the break on its east side. The way in which a linear ditch that crosses the ring ditch on a northeast to southwest alignment (part of NHER 43426) breaks at its centre could reflect the former presence of a mound or similar internal feature. This is most clearly visible on an aerial photograph taken in 1996 (S5), on which the break corresponds with an alteration in the geological cropmarks visible at the site.

The smaller ring ditch is more oval in shape but is still broadly circular. It measures approximately 40m in diameter and is defined by a ditch less than 2m wide. The ditch circuit appears to be unbroken and no traces of an internal feature were recognised.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 24 March 2006.

Monument Types

  • RING DITCH (Unknown date)
  • MOUND? (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • RING DITCH (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • MOUND? (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 701 BC?)
  • RING DITCH (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 701 BC?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1963. RAF 543/2331 (F21) 0088-9 25-JUL-1963 (NMR).
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1976. CUCAP (BYJ34) 29-JUN-1976.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1976. NHER TG 4818F-G (NLA 32/AGC6-7) 13-JUL-1976.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Jeavons, A.. 1996. NHER TG 4818Q-R (NLA KRD14-5) 20-AUG-1996.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Jeavons, A.. 1996. NHER TG 4818T (NLA KRD18) 20-AUG-1996.
<S6>Monograph: Wilson, D.R.. 2000. Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists.. p 110.

Related records - none

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