Record Details

NHER Number:27338
Type of record:Monument
Name:Possible Bronze Age field system


Part of a possible Bronze Age field system is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. Fieldwalking, metal detecting and excavation of this site are recorded as NHER 12165. It forms part of a larger complex of archaeological cropmarks (NHER 27259). It overlies and may incorporate a probable Bronze Age barrow cemetery (NHER 27342).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4837 1641
Map Sheet:TG41NE

Full description

April 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmarks described below were previously recorded as NHER 18317 and 12165.

A field system of probable Bronze Age date is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs (S1) to (S10), centred at TG 4842 1655. It is part of a larger cropmark complex (NHER 27259) comprising field systems, enclosures and trackways of various dates. Excavation along the line of the Bacton to Great Yarmouth gas pipeline (NHER 12165; (S11), Site 7N; additional information from Sarah Bates, NAU) recovered small quantities of Bronze Age pottery from part of the field system described here and other nearby features. Worked flint characteristic of the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age was also recovered from the site. In places, it was demonstrated that the features thought to be Bronze Age were stratigraphically earlier than parts of a second field system of probable Iron Age to Roman date (NHER 27339).

The postulated field system was presumably laid out around the pre existing round barrow cemetery (NHER 27342) and in places it appears to deliberately incorporate these earlier features (e.g. around ring ditches NHER 27343 and NHER 27348). Its principal element is a wide, 'braided' (i.e. recut) ditch which follows a rather irregular course but in broad terms is orientated east to west and runs along the middle of a low spur, surrounded by lower ground to its north, west and south. It may have acted as a drainage ditch as it was observed during the excavation that it was permanently fillled with water. Its size suggests that it also marked and/or acted as a significant boundary. Numerous narrower ditches come off this central feature at irregular angles, meeting other elements to form a characteristically random group of fields, boundary ditches and trackways. Overall, the site has the appearance of having developed over a period of time and perhaps comprising several different phases of construction and disuse. Its morphology is in marked contrast to both the later field system that overlies it (NHER 27339) and another field system of probable Bronze Age date identified approximately 2.6km to the west (NHER 27331).

The field system is mainly visible over an area measuring approximately 735m by 550m. Some elements outside this area, such as the ditch visible between TG 4877 1613 and TG 4885 1610 excavated as part of NHER 34025 (Site 7S) are probably part of the same phase of activity but lie too far from its 'core' to be included as part of the site. Within the irregular pattern of the field system, a number of possible enclosures are evident, e.g. at TG 4822 1649 and TG 4855 1639. A separate enclosure, NHER 27337, may date to the same phase of activity.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 22 April 2005.

Monument Types

  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Undated)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Undated)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Undated)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Undated)
  • TRACKWAY (Undated)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE? (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • TRACKWAY (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 1030-1 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 4716C, TG 4816A).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 3043-4 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 4915A, TG 4815A).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1964. RAF 58/6522 (F22) 0043-4 01-OCT-1964 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1970. OS/70351 162-3 20-SEP-1970 (NMR).
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1973. CUCAP (BOB70-3) 05-JUL-1973.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1978. CUCAP RC8CT100-1 25-JUL-1978 (CUCAP).
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1979. NHER TG 4816A-C (NLA 72/AMR12-14) 17-JUL-1979.
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 4816D-E (NLA 78/ANJ5-6) 09-JUN-1980.
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1980. CUCAP (CMK61) 03-JUL-1980.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1983. NHER TG 4816L-Q (NLA 137/ATN1-5) 29-JUL-1983.
<S11>Unpublished Contractor Report: Bates, S. and Crowson, A. 2004. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design for Archaeological Excavations and Watching Brief on the Bacton to Great Yarmouth Gas Pipeline, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 924.

Related records

27259Part of: Multi-period field systems, trackways and enclosures (Monument)

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