Record Details

NHER Number:35525
Type of record:Monument
Name:Rectangular enclosure and other crop marks


A possible late prehistoric to Roman date polygonal enclosure, probably a farmstead, is visible on aerial photographs to the south of Staithe Farm, Catfield. Several round houses may be located within the enclosure and fragments of an associated field system are visible to the west of the main enclosure.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3973 2146
Map Sheet:TG32SE

Full description

This site has been extended to the west and the central grid reference has been altered from TG 3986 2135 to TG 3968 2145.

2 May 1972. Ordnance Survey air photography.
Positive cropmarks.
Rectangular enclosure contained within a large irregular enclosure and other linear features, possible trackway. Looks Roman to me or possibly prehistoric.
D. Voisey (NLA), 4 January 1996.

Site extended to east to include additional cropmarks and therefore centre of site has been altered from TG 3975 2130 to TG 3986 2135.

March 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmarks of a late prehistoric or Roman date enclosure, possibly a farmstead with associated fields, are visible on aerial photographs (S1-S2). The site is centred on TG 3986 2135. The aerial photographs indicate that the site extends to the west into TG32SE and the full extent could not be covered within the Coastal zone mapping. The area will hopefully mapped during a separate phase of the NMP project. The aerial photographs indicate that this western border of the TG42SW map sheet has potentially quite dense cropmarks in places and it is possible that the interpretation of this site will be expanded or altered once this mapping has taken place. The following record provides only a summary and initial interpretation of the features mapped to date (S1-S2).

The site consists of a large polygonal enclosure centred on TG 3984 2133 and measuring at least 200m by 165m, but possibly as large as 250m by 235m. The eastern side of the enclosure appears to have a 20m trackway or double ditched component. A much narrower section of trackway feeds off this to the north and continues along a short section of the northern enclosure ditch. The interior of this large enclosure appears not to be subdivided, apart from a ditch running in from the northeastern corner. Another ditch cuts across this corner of the enclosure, although it is not clear whether this is contemporary with the enclosure. A number of small circular features may possibly have been visible on the aerial photographs within the enclosure, although these were not mapped as they may have been geological in origin.

Within the southwestern area of the enclosure is a series of conjoined rectilinear enclosures, centred on TG 3972 2122. The main component is rectangular enclosure, 60m across, which is subdivided into strips, between 15-25m across. Conjoined to this to the west is another rectilinear enclosed area. All of these enclosure ditches are conjoined to a main linear ditch, which has a double ditched or trackway element to the west, where it meets another double ditched linear feature. This second possible trackway follows the same alignment as the western ditch of the larger polygonal enclosure. This relationship would suggest that the double ditched boundaries or trackways are contemporary with the polygonal enclosure and it is highly likely that this southern ditch originally formed the fourth side of the large enclosure. The southeastern end of the enclosure is not visible and therefore this relationship cannot be ascertained for definite.

Although this southern ditch may originally have been part of the larger enclosure complex, the internal subdivided enclosures are aligned at an angle to this, possibly suggesting that they are a later development at the site. The large enclosure may originally be Iron Age in date, with a possible later and Roman phase indicated by the rectangular enclosed areas. The subdivided area may represent a small settlement or farmstead, with the subdivided areas represent differential use of space, perhaps for domestic purposes or stock management. At TG 3958 2125, where the two double ditched linears or trackways meet, is a small ring ditch, 7.5m in diameter. It is possible that this is a small roundhouse associated the larger enclosure, although it is quite small, a stack stand or similar agricultural structure is another possibility. To the northeast of the main enclosure are a series of ditch sections broadly aligned along the enclosure, it seems likely that these are fragments of an field system.
S. Massey (NMP), 29 March 2005.

March 2007. Norfolk NMP.
The consultation of additional aerial photographs to the west of the site has resulted in the mapping of additional features associated with this site and the site is now centred on TG 3968 2145.

The additional mapping has continued the pattern of settlement and fields indicated by the earlier work, with two possible phases of enclosures and fields being identified. Similarly aligned enclosures and fields to the east have been recorded (NHER 49321 and 49324) and appear to be associated with Roman date material. An enclosure of similar polygonal plan, although of smaller dimensions, has been recorded within NHER 49321.

Two possible additional ring ditches were mapped at TG 3987 2133 and TG 3994 2135 (S1). These were also of a small size, 4-5.5m in diameter. It is possible that these represent agricultural or temporary structures, although the size is also consistent with seemingly domestic round houses recorded within other settlements sites, such as at Hopton-on-Sea (NHER 43494). A possible circular pit of similar dimensions was mapped at TG 3963 2124, it is possible that this also relates to a former structure.
S. Massey (NMP), 30 March 2007.

Monument Types

  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • FARMSTEAD? (Unknown date)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • POLYGONAL ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH? (Unknown date)
  • TRACKWAY (Unknown date)
  • FARMSTEAD? (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • POLYGONAL ENCLOSURE (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • RING DITCH? (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)? (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Early Neolithic to Roman - 4000 BC to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72111 002-4 02-MAY-1972.
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72110 160-1 02-MAY-1972 (NMR).
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1975. NHER TG 3921A-B (NLA 20/ADV29-30 ) 20-JUL-1975.

Related records - none

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