Record Details

NHER Number:18131
Type of record:Monument
Name:Late prehistoric rectangular enclosure and associated linear features

Summary

A potentially late prehistoric rectangular enclosure and possibly associated linear features are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs on land to the south of Bell Farm, Horsford. This feature has been excavated by the NAU and proposed to be a Neolithic elongated mortuary enclosure, although a Bronze Age to Iron Age or even Iron Age to Roman date would appear to be more in-keeping with its morphology. The exact position of this enclosure was confirmed by geophysical surveys undertaken in 2009 and 2012/2013. Only one other potentially related linear feature was identified.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 18 15
Map Sheet:TG11NE
Parish:HORSFORD, BROADLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

15 September 1981. NAU air photography.
Positive cropmarks. Rectangular enclosure.
D. Edwards (NAU), 5 May 1982.

Somewhere about here during 1940 was established a Q site decoy airfield. But this very probably has no connection with this cropmark as it appears to predate the field boundaries.
E. Rose (NAU), 25 October 1989.

In (S1) it is questioned whether the information is correct, there being no official documentary evidence of a decoy in this area.
E. Rose (NLA), 8 May 1998.

2007. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of site on proposed line of Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Phase 1).
Trenches placed across the south-west and south-east side of this enclosure both revealed substantial ditches. A number of the deposits within the latter potentially represented material that had eroded from an internal bank. Unfortunately little in the way of dating evidence was recovered from these ditches, with finds limited to a small assemblage of worked and burnt flints.
A range of possible pits were identified within the enclosure, several of which were potentially associated with a deposit of burnt flint. Although these features were also poorly dated the finds recovered were exclusively prehistoric (including several undiagnostic pottery sherds of ?Bronze Age and ?Early Neolithic/Iron Age date).
See report (S2) and NHER 61127 for further details.
S. Howard (NLA), 25 November 2009. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 5 July 2019.

March-June 2009. Geophysical Survey
Magnetometer survey on proposed line of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (eastern field; Site H5).
A positive linear anomaly identified in the extreme north-west corner of the area examined almost certainly represents the ditch associated with the south-west side of this enclosure.
See report (S3) and NHER 61127 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 3 August 2015.

November 2009. Norfolk NMP.
A late prehistoric rectangular enclosure and possibly associated linear features are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (S4)-(S10) on land to the south of Bell Farm, Horsford, centred on TG 1798 1553.
The enclosure measures 56m by at least 85 externally, and is orientated northeast-southwest. The ditches themselves measure up to 3.5m in width. A possible entrance is visible on the south-western side at TG 1796 1550, which is reminiscent morphologically of an Iron Age to Roman enclosure or field system, or possibly even a Bronze Age to Iron Age stock enclosure or similar feature, and is perhaps less like an elongated mortuary enclosure than has been suggested (S2), but in the absence of any more conclusive dating evidence, it is certainly possible that it dates to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, and this cannot be discounted.
The pottery evidence suggests that Early Neolithic, Bronze Age or perhaps Iron Age activity was taking place at the site. It is therefore possible that the curvilinear feature to the north (NHER 53233) may in fact relate to a Neolithic long barrow or mortuary enclosure.
There are also a series of linear ditch features surrounding the rectangular enclosure, which are orientated on roughly the same northeast-southwest alignment, and appear to be related to it. It may be that they represent field boundary ditches related to the rectangular possible stock enclosure.
A very faint possible sub-square enclosure measuring at least 19m by 18m, centred on TG 1816 1532, with a possible entrance at TG 1816 1533, has been recorded, although this was only faintly visible on one set of aerial photographs (S10), and it is possible that it relates to a geological feature, such as frost wedge marks, which are visible throughout this area.
E. Bales (NMP), November 2009.

April 2012-April 2013. Geophysical Survey.
Magnetometry survey on proposed line of Norwich Northern Distributor Road (western field; Block 15).
This survey identified anomalies that clearly corresponded with three sides of the enclosure. Another linear anomaly appears to correspond with the similarly-aligned and potentially related linear cropmark at TG 1789 1558. A number of pit-like anomalies identified in the vicinity of the enclosure may also represent archaeologically significant remains, although a geological origin is also possible.
See report (S11) and NHER 61127 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 4 August 2015.

April-August 2015. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of two sites on proposed line of Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Fields H3-H4 and H5).
This phase of work saw trenches excavated across the north-west and south-east sides of the enclosure, both of which revealed corresponding sub-surface features. The former was associated with a substantial ditch, while the latter revealed what appeared to be a large ditch terminus (which is difficult to reconsile with the cropmark evidence. Finds recovered included Early Bronze Age and undiagnostic prehistoric pottery sherds and worked flints of probably Bronze Age to Iron Age date.
A trench placed to the west of the west-south-west to east-north-east aligned linear cropmark at TG 1789 1558 (also recorded under NHER 18131) demonstrated that this feature does not extend beyond its mapped extent (in this direction at least). This is consistent with the results of the 2012/2013 geophysical survey.
See report (S9) and NHER 61127 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 June 2019.

January-September 2016. Strip Map and Sample Excavation.
Excavation of site on route of Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Area 3).
Details awaited.
P. Watkins (HES), 5 July 2019.

Monument Types

  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY? (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • MORTUARY ENCLOSURE? (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC?)
  • MORTUARY ENCLOSURE? (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2351 BC?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY? (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2350 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC to 409 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 800 BC? to 409 AD?)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOMBING DECOY? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG 1815A-F, L-N.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2016. Discovery of nationally significant Bronze Age settlement on NDR. 15 September.
<S1>Monograph: Dobinson, C.. 1996. Bombing decoys of World War II.. p 84.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. and Watkins, P. 2008. Norwich Northern Distributor Route: Archaeological Evaluation by Trial Trenching. NAU Archaeology. 1363.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Railton, M. 2009. Geophysical Surveys of the Proposed Route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, Norfolk. North Pennines Archaeology. 868/09.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1971. MAL 71017 037-8 23-MAR-1971 (NMR).
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1981. CUCAP (CPF70-71) 14-SEP-1981.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1981. NHER TG 1815A-C (NLA 121/ARQ1-3) 15-SEPT-1981 (NLA).
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1983. NHER TG 1815D-F (NLA 229/12-14) 24-JAN-1983 (NLA).
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1983. NHER TG 1815L-N (NLA 226 7-9) 12-SEPT-1983 (NLA).
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG1815P (NLA365/FFL11) 28-JUN-1996 (NLA).
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1990. OS/90224 133-4 31-JUL-1990 (NMR).
<S11>Unpublished Contractor Report: Harrison, S. and Webb, A. 2013. Norwich Northern Distributor Road, Norwich, Norfolk. Geophysical Survey. Archaeological Services WYAS.

Related records - none

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