Record Details

NHER Number:5800
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Two Palaeolithic handaxes and pottery of uncertain date


Sometime prior to June 1870 two Palaeolithic handaxes were recovered from pits near Melford bridge along with pottery sherds of uncertain date.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 879 828
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

Pre June 1870. Stray Find.
Palaeolithic flint implements "…found in pits at Milford bridge, Thetford" were exhibited at a meeting of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society by Mr Fitch on 12 June 1870 (S1). Pottery, described as 'apparently British', was also found in the pits.

These finds almost certaintly came from one of the gravel pits that lay on the Brettenham side of the Melford bridge. The most likely candidate is a large pit that can be seen close to the road on the 1st Edition O.S. map and the record has been mapped on this basis (moving it slightly from its previous position at TL 879 828). It should however be noted that there appears to have been another large pit a little to the east, at TL 880 828.

Two Palaeolithic implements from this site are part of The Norwich Castle Museum's Fitch Collection (NWHCM : 1894.76.925-926). These are recorded by (S2) as two "Group III" objects (a handaxe and a "white ovate") and are listed as handaxes in (S3). One of these handaxe is described as a finely-made cordate handaxe on (S4) and in (S5). These finds were also noted in (S6) and (S7). All of the above sources incorrectly place this site in Thetford parish.

The Palaeolithic finds from this site were also noted in (S8), which records that material from this site was held by both the Norwich Castle Museum and what is now the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The nature of the material that went to the latter is not known - no material from this site could be identified in the museum's current records.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 16 July 2008. Amended and expanded by P. Watkins (HES), 6 May 2013.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC to 40001 BC)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Unknown date)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TL 88 SE 84.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Article in Serial: 1872. Appendix. Extracts from the Proceedings of the Committee. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 349-374. p 373.
<S2>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S3>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 240.
<S4>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Thetford (Melford Bridge) (3).
<S5>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 114.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1996. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 9 (Great Ouse) and 12 (Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire Wolds). Wessex Archaeology. LLO-2, No. 10.
<S7>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22681.
<S8>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1907. The Distribution of Flint and Bronze Implements in Norfolk. Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Vol VIII Pt III (for 1906-1907) pp 393-409. p 396.

Related records - none

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