The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill,
North Elmham, Norfolk, Parts I to VIII
see EAA 6, 11 and 21 (out of print); 34, 39, 67, 69, 73, 119
No.6, 1977: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part I: Catalogue of Cremations, by Catherine Hills
242pp, 156figs, 9pls. OUT OF PRINT
This is the largest Early Saxon cemetery
excavated in this country with 2259 cremations and 57 inhumations.
The first catalogue contains the cremation urns and grave-goods from the north-west part of the cemetery, excavated between 1972 and 1975. The urns are arranged according to decoration, all the stamps drawn, and stamp-linked groups identified. All the grave-good types are described and discussed. The catalogue of grave-goods should be used in conjunction with an updated list on microfiche in EAA 67.
The introduction describes the history of antiquarian interest in the site from 1711 onwards, looks at the field names and the origin of ‘Spong’, and places the site into the known archaeological history of the area.
The importance and potential of the cemetery is assessed and suggested lines of enquiry that can be pursued once it is complete.
No.7, 1978: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Bergh Apton, Norfolk: Catalogue, by Barbara Green and Andrew Rogerson
112pp, 112figs, 8pls. OUT OF PRINT
Sixty-three inhumations were excavated
from part of an Early Saxon cemetery, of which the south and west parts
had been destroyed.
The catalogue contains plans of each inhumation together with the grave-goods, which are illustrated as grave-groups. Inhumation 22 contained the fragments of a lyre, which is described and reconstructed by Graeme Lawson.
The skeletal evidence was extremely poor, so that gender was determined by grave-goods.
No.9, 1980: Excavations in North Elmham
Park 1967–72, by Peter Wade-Martins
660pp, 272figs, 124pls, microfiche, 2vols.
From about 680AD, North Elmham was a Saxon
bishopric and, although unoccupied between the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries
due to the Danish presence, continued until 1071, when it was abandoned
in favour Thetford. The problems of the identification of the See with
North Elmham are discussed, along with the history of the diocese and its
Excavations took place in that part of the park closest to the cathedral and containing the most earthworks. A sequence of features was revealed which starts in the Middle Saxon period, with buildings, boundary ditches and two timber-lined wells, and ends in the 19th century. Particularly important is the development of the Middle, Late Saxon and early medieval timber buildings. David Yaxley's reconstruction drawings show how this part of the settlement may have looked at different periods.
11th-century skeletal remains from the cathedral cemetery are described in detail and, together with literary sources, form the basis for a vivid picture of contemporary village life.
Excavation results and the documentary evidence are combined to trace the evolution of the village and its plan, from the late 7th century to the present day.
No.11, 1980: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part II: Catalogue of Cremations, by Catherine
Hills and Kenneth Penn
286pp, 199figs, 7pls. OUT OF PRINT
This second catalogue follows the format of the first and contains the cremation urns and grave-goods from the north-east part of the cemetery, excavated between 1976 and 1977. The brief introduction includes additions to stamp-linked pottery groups and describes twenty-seven new ones. Some new types of grave-goods are also mentioned. The catalogue of grave-goods should be used in conjunction with an updated list on microfiche in EAA 67.
No.18, 1983: The Archaeology of Witton, near North Walsham, by Andrew Lawson
114pp, 95figs, 16pls.
This report reviews the archaeology and
history of Witton parish from prehistory to the present day.
Fieldwalking finds discovered by John Owles on his farm, which covers a large part of the parish, form the basis of this report. Excavation provided further information on the Roman kiln, and also the Early Saxon settlement with its sunken-featured buildings.
Analysis of Saxon exploitation of the landscape shows shifting settlement patterns. Archaeological evidence for the medieval and post-medieval settlement is reviewed against the historical and documentary evidence. The two medieval churches are described, and supplemented by a graveyard survey of St Margaret's church.
No.21, 1984: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part III: Catalogue of Inhumations, by Catherine
Hills, Kenneth Penn and Robert Rickett
163pp, 111figs, 19pls. OUT OF PRINT
A catalogue of the 57 inhumations from
the largest Early Saxon mixed cemetery in the country.
The introduction contains brief discussion of many aspects of burial ritual, and chronology based on stratigraphy and artefact typology. Specialist reports include the human bones, which were poorly preserved, the textile remains, the pottery fabrics and XRF analysis of copper alloy objects.
The catalogue contains plans and sections of each inhumation showing the positions of grave-goods, which are illustrated as grave groups and described in detail.
No.22, 1984: Excavations in Thetford
1948–59 and 1973–80, by Andrew Rogerson and Carolyn Dallas
205pp, 203figs, 24pls.
Documentary evidence suggests that Thetford
was already an important centre by AD 870, when it provided a winter base
for the Vikings. During the 10th and 11th centuries, the Anglo-Danish town
developed into a thriving commercial centre with many local crafts and
industries, occupying an enormous defended area south of the River Ouse.
This report describes many sites excavated between 1948 and 1959 by Group Captain Knocker, and two sites excavated in 1973 and 1980 by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit. (See also EAA 62 and EAA 72 for further work).
Knocker's excavations produced a motley collection of buildings, but the most important aspect of this report is the comprehensively illustrated collection of finds. These include products of the Thetford Ware kilns, metalworking tools, woodworking tools and objects connected with textile manufacture, clothworking and leatherworking. Other items include combs, pins, needles, handles, flutes and skates.
No.24, 1985: West Stow, the Anglo-Saxon Village, Suffolk, by Stanley West
2 vols, 184pp, 305figs, 11pls; £30.00
West Stow is one of the most important Early Saxon settlements to be excavated, since it was virtually complete, and devoid of later occupation. The cemetery nearby was investigated in the early 19th century, and contained predominantly inhumation burials. A cremation cemetery at Lackford, a mile away, may also be associated.
The settlement began in the early 5th century, on an unoccupied site, and continued into the 7th century. The prehistoric and Roman background in the area is discussed, as is the pattern of Early Saxon settlement elsewhere in the Lark Valley.
The site consisted of 70 sunken-featured buildings, arranged in groups around 7 'halls', representing 3 or 4 family groups at anyone time. The purpose and reconstruction of these buildings is extensively discussed, using parallels in this country and abroad. The reconstructed buildings in the West Stow Country Park add a unique dimension to this report, and the accidental destruction by fire of one of them allowed an archaeological investigation of the remains (see forthcoming EAA report, Experimental Archaeology and Fire).
Abundant evidence of local crafts was discovered, such as bone and antler working, weaving and potting. The combs were particularly well-preserved, and rare evidence of antler pottery stamps was found. The faunal remains constitute one of the largest collections in Britain and provide valuable evidence for the environment and economy of the site.
The conclusions bring together the archaeology of the settlement and the finds from the cemetery, placing them in their context in the history of the settlement of the Lark Valley.
This popular report sold out years ago, but has now been reprinted.
No.34, 1987: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham,
Part IV: Catalogue of Cremations, by Catherine Hills, Kenneth Penn and Robert Rickett
213pp, 133figs, 43pls.
The third cremation catalogue follows the
format established in the first two. It contains the cremation urns and
grave-goods from the south-east part of the cemetery, excavated in 1979
The brief introduction includes additions to existing stamp-linked pottery groups, and describes twenty-three new ones which include the animal stamp potter. A few new types of grave-goods are also mentioned.
This volume contains photographs and drawings of 'Spong Man', the pottery lid of a cremation urn in the shaped of a seated figure, unique in Early Saxon archaeology.
No.36, 1987: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Morning Thorpe, Norfolk,
by Barbara Green, Andrew Rogerson and Susan G. White
369pp, 467figs, 22pls, microfiche, 2vols.
The south-western part of this Early Saxon
cemetery produced about 365 inhumations and 9 cremations. The bone preservation
was poor, so that the burials were sexed almost entirely on the evidence
In two cases, individual inhumations were surrounded by ring-ditches, two other penannular ditches were found, and a square slot may have been the foundation of a timber building, related to the cemetery.
The catalogue contains plans of each inhumation, with the positions of the grave-goods. These are described in Volume 1, but illustrated in Volume 2, as grave-groups.
Specialists' reports appear in Volume 1, including an extensive analysis of the lyre remains from Inhumation 97.
No.38, 1988: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Westgarth Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk: Catalogue, by Stanley West
72pp, 85figs, 8pls.
Part of the cemetery was excavated, revealing
65 inhumations and 4 cremations. Some complete skeletons were found, but
in other graves the bone did not survive. However, there is no human bone
The introduction contains an analysis of burial practice, orientation and cemetery organisation. The positioning of dress ornaments in female graves is represented diagrammatically, as is the position of weapons in male graves. The specialists' reports include textiles, and a discussion on the weapons from the graves.
The catalogue contains plans of each inhumation, with the positions of the grave-goods. These are described, and illustrated as grave groups. They date from the mid-5th to the 7th century.
No.39, 1988: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part VI: Occupation during the Seventh to
Second Millennia BC, by Frances Healy
118pp, 88figs, 11pls, microfiche.
Extensive excavations of the Early Saxon
cemetery and part of the associated settlement revealed evidence of Early
Prehistoric occupation on the hill top, dating from the Mesolithic to the
Early Bronze Age.
This report describes the environment, economy and land use, and places the site in its local and regional context. The information retrieved from Spong Hill provides a useful sample of prehistoric occupation in central Norfolk.
No.60, 1993: Caister-on-Sea: Excavations
by Charles Green, 1951–55, by Margaret J. Darling and David Gurney
ISBN 0 905594 07 X; 308pp, 145figs, 36pls, microfiche.
The Roman defended site at Caister, hitherto viewed as a small town, can now be seen as an early coastal fort probably contemporary with Reculver and Brancaster, both of which appear in the Notitia Dignitatum as forts of the Saxon shore. Following occupation by cavalry from the early 3rd century to later 4th century, the site was unoccupied until the Middle Saxon period, when outside the walls an extensive cemetery developed which was in use from the 8th to 11th centuries. Several burials containing rows of clench nails indicate that parts of boats were used as coffin lids or biers. Further burials were recorded within the fort itself, and both cemeteries exhibit Christian characteristics. It is likely that they were associated with a church, perhaps a minster. Was Caister, rather than Burgh Castle, Fursa's monastery of Cnobheresburg?
No.62, 1993: Excavations in Thetford
by B.K. Davison between 1964 and 1970, by Carolyn Dallas
ISBN 0 905594 08 8; 252pp, 145figs, 36pls, microfiche.
This volume describes three important sites in the town which were excavated in advance of redevelopment: a three-acre area of the Late Saxon town south of Brandon road, an adjacent group of pottery kilns, and a pre-Conquest church. The excavations show the topography and development of Late Saxon Thetford south of the river. The crowded south bank was home to industry and commerce, including Thetford Ware kilns. There is still little evidence for overseas trade on any scale, but recent evidence from York is comparable in its lack of ceramic evidence for trade. The south bank was gradually abandoned after the 12th century, but documentary research suggests that the north bank continued to flourish, possibly as a planned town.
No.63, 1993: Illington: The Study of a Breckland Parish and its Anglo-Saxon
Cemetery, by Alan Davison, Barbara Green and Bill Milligan
ISBN 0 905594 09 6; 124pp, 52figs, 15pls, microfiche.
Part of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Illington was excavated by Group Captain Knocker in 1949. 200 cremation urns and 3 inhumations were mapped and lifted, and the remains of about two hundred other vessels were also recovered. Many of the decorated urns belong to the Illington/Lackford workshop, and the finds assemblage as a whole suggests that the cemetery was in use during the 6th and 7th centuries. The cremated human bones were the subject of a pioneering study by the late Calvin Wells. Alan Davison's parish survey did not locate any Early Saxon domestic sites, and it is thought that the original Saxon holding may have been larger than the medieval parish.
No.67, 1994: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part V: Catalogue of Cremations, by Catherine
Hills, Kenneth Penn and Robert Rickett
ISBN 0 905594 12 6; 260pp, 149figs, 6pls, microfiche.
This volume illustrates over 500 cremation urns, their stamps and their contents. Specialist reports include the final illustrated list of the 132 stamp groups, besides an analysis of cruciform brooches, wooden objects, glass vessels and a note on an early brooch.
No.69, 1994: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part VIII: The Cremations, by Jacqueline McKinley
ISBN 0 905594 14 2; 160pp, 33figs, 49pls, microfiche.
This volume deals with cremated remains, both human and animal, from over 2,000 urns. Age and sex identifications of the individuals are presented, together with their grave-good associations. Animal bone was found in a large proportion of urns, and represented a wide range of animals, mostly but not exclusively domestic. There is a discussion of the identified pathologies and various aspects of cremation ritual and technology.
No.72, 1995: Excavations at Redcastle
Furze, Thetford, 1988–9, by Phil Andrews
ISBN 0 905594 15 0; 157pp, 102figs, 9pls.
During the late 1980s, several sizeable
undeveloped areas south of the river were threatened. Together, they provided
an opportunity to recover further information about the origins and growth
of Thetford. This is the fourth volume in the series to cover excavations
in Thetford (see EAA 22 and 62 above, EAA 4 out of print), and further
reports are in press.
An area excavation to the east of Red Castle, not far from Davison's large-scale excavations at Brandon Road, provided the chance to recover evidence of the Early and Middle Saxon settlements, and the Late Saxon expansion, and to look at a part of Thetford still occupied during the late 11th and 12th centuries, when the town was in rapid decline and the ringwork known as 'Red Castle' was built.
No.73, 1995: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part VII: Iron Age, Roman and Early Saxon
Settlement, by Robert Rickett
ISBN 0 905594 16 9; 182pp, 146figs, 14pls, microfiche.
Excavation of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery
also revealed extensive occupation evidence: late Iron Age and Roman
enclosures and field boundaries, an early Roman kiln, and a small settlement
of 'sunken huts' and post-hole buildings possibly contemporary with the
cemetery. Full reports on the structural data, artefacts and environmental
evidence illustrate the different phases of activity.
The lengthy settlement sequence, covering two 'periods of transition' — Iron Age/Roman and Roman/ Anglo-Saxon — lends the results importance, and the report makes a useful contribution to the study of rural settlement and economy in East Anglia.
No.74, 1995: A Late Neolithic, Saxon
and Medieval Site at Middle Harling, Norfolk, by Andrew Rogerson
ISBN 0 905594 17 7; 108pp, 81figs, 14pls, microfiche.
A hoard of coins of the shadowy East Anglian
King Beonna triggered off a project which revealed not only late Neolithic
activity but also a Viking burial and a small part of a rural settlement
of the 8th to 13th centuries AD.
Saturation coverage by metal detector at all stages of the work produced a large assemblage of metal objects which suggests that the 'normal' quantity and range of finds collected from conventionally excavated sites may often fall short of the true population.
No.75, 1995: North Shoebury: Settlement
and Economy in South-East Essex 1500BC–AD1500, by J. Wymer and N. Brown
ISBN 1 85281 130 7; 208pp, 104figs, 26pls, microfiche.
Excavation at North Shoebury in the 1970s and 80s spread across about 18 hectares, an area only exceeded in southern Essex by the excavations at Mucking. Occupation was continuous, though shifting, from the Bronze Age through to the Saxon period. An Early Medieval manorial enclosure close to the church formed the focus of a dispersed settlement set originally in open fields. Foundations of a Tudor brick built house were also investigated. This volume provides the first major account of the archaeology of south-east Essex.
No.76, 1996: Orton Hall Farm: A Roman
and Early Saxon Farmstead, by Donald Mackreth
ISBN 0 9528105 0 6; 255pp, 12figs, 9pls, microfiche. £35.00
Excavation in the parish of Orton Longeuville
during the 1970s revealed a farmstead which had been occupied from c.
50AD right through into the 6th century.
At its greatest extent, in the 4th century, the farmstead included three barns, a house with a walled yard, a large rectangular building and mill-house. Important evidence for the milling of grain, brewing and animal management was recovered. The farm was apparently a large establishment having many features in common with a medieval manor, and it may have been an imperial estate.
Occupation continued into the Saxon period, with evidence of a granary and possibly a hall.
No.77, 1996: Barrow Excavations in Norfolk, 1984–8, by John Wymer
ISBN 0 905594 19 3; 94pp, 46figs, 30pls. £11.00
A number of sites excavated in advance
of mineral extraction during the 1980s are described in this report. The
Early Bronze Age round barrow with an outer bank and ditch at Bawsey,
near King's Lynn, contained traces of a tree-trunk bier but no evidence
of the body, plus a satelite burial and seven secondary cremations, one
of which was buried beneath a complete, inverted collared urn.
A mound and a possible ring-ditch in the parishes of Longham and Beeston with Bittering were found to be of periglacial origin, but the range and quantity of prehistoric material recovered indicates settlement from the Neolithic to the Iron Age in an area where little has been recorded before. A prehistoric origin seems likely for the single ring-ditch at Lyng Easthaugh, seen as a cropmark on aerial photographs, although the results of excavation were inconclusive.
At South Acre, a ring-ditch identified on aerial photographs was found to be the levelled remains of a large, possibly prehistoric, round barrow. Later on, more than one hundred shallow graves were dug around the mound. These contained the remains of men, women and children, some apparently decapitated, which may be the remains of criminals executed during Saxon times.
No.84, 1998: A Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Material from Suffolk, by Stanley West
ISBN 0 86055 246 2; 370pp, 159figs, 20pls. £33.00
It is eighty years since a comprehensive
survey of Suffolk Anglo-Saxon material was published by R.A.Smith in the
Victoria County History, and thirty years since R.Rainbird-Clarke's provocative
discussion in his East Anglia. The great surge of interest that has occurred
since the 1950s — excavations, field surveys, and the rapidly increasing
reported discoveries — combine to make a new survey and catalogue highly
The corpus includes as much of the previously unpublished material as possible, but the treatment of some categories of finds, particularly from the recently published sites, has had to be selective.
The work is essentially a catalogue, presented at a time of rapidly-changing views and approaches to the Anglo-Saxons and the appreciation of their ongoing contribution to our heritage. It is intended that it should be used as a primary source for the artefacts and their distribution in Suffolk as a basis for the greater understanding of the mechanics of the establishment and development of Anglo-Saxon East Anglia.
No.87, 1999: Excavations in Thetford,
North of the River, 1989–90, by Phil Andrews and Kenneth Penn
ISBN 0 905594 27 4; 114pp, 62figs, 4pls. £11.00
Three major excavations and other work
in Thetford reveal settlement north of the river by AD1000, within a semi-circular
defensive enclosure which probably pre-dates that south of the river, but
was initially little more than a bridgehead.
Occupation peaked in the 11th and 12th centuries, with a shift of people to the north bank, followed by medieval decline.
The bones represent a range of domestic animals, dominated by sheep kept for wool, cattle for meat and dairy products, and then pigs.
Some stray Middle Saxon finds may hint at re-use of the Iron Age fort as an exchange/market centre.
No.92, 2000: Excavations on the Norwich Southern Bypass, 1989–91 Part II:
The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Harford farm, Markshall, Norfolk, by Kenneth Penn
ISBN 0 905594 30 4; 133pp, 97figs, 25pls. £17.00
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Harford Farm
consisted of two groups of late 7th-century inhumation burials — surviving
only as stains — within a prehistoric barrow cemetery. Of the thirty-one
graves grouped on a bluff overlooking the river, most contained either
unaccompanied burials or burials with just knife and buckle; but three,
all probably female, were lavishly equipped. The fifteen graves further
south, loosely arranged around a prehistoric barrow, were mostly 'knife
and buckle' burials, but one was more richly furnished.
The character of the grave-goods and the manner of burial are typical of 'late’ or 'Final Phase’ cemeteries. Although similarity of grave-goods suggests that the two groups of graves were contemporary, there may have been some significant differences in burial rite, coffins predominating in one group and burials in the other group resting on mats of organic material. For Part I see PREHISTORY
No.95, 2001: Snape Anglo-Saxon Cemetery: Excavations
and Surveys 1824–1992, by William Filmer-Sankey and Tim Pestell
ISBN 0 86055 264 0; 277pp, 151figs, 58pls. £23.50
The Snape Anglo-Saxon cemetery stands in the Sandlings area of east Suffolk. The first recorded excavations on the site were conducted in 1862–3 by the landowner, Septimus Davidson and some friends. In trenching the largest barrow they encountered rivets, and by careful excavation were able to reveal the remains of a complete Anglo-Saxon ship burial, the first to be found in England. Although already robbed, they recovered a number of items including a gold Germanic finger-ring, now in the British Museum, which showed that the burial had been of the highest status. Their excavations also revealed a large number of Anglo-Saxon cremation burials. Subsequently the site was almost forgotten until in 1970 a dowser found an Anglo-Saxon urn in the field to the north of the road, and in 1972 a sewer trench excavated along the road yielded a further nine cremations, one in a bronze bowl (published by West and Owles, 1973).
In 1985 a research project was initiated under the aegis of the Snape Historical Trust. Excavations have shown the site to be a mixed cremation and inhumation cemetery. Amongst the inhumations, a wide variety of burial practices has been noted, including the use of two, and possibly three, dugout logboats as burial containers. Other graves made extensive use of organics, in some instances of textile, including the first observed use of Rippenköper weave in England (grave 37). The grave-goods were within the normal range of material to be expected in an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, more exotic finds including a lyre (grave 32) and a horse's head with tack (grave 47). Finds show the cremation burials to date from the late 5th to 7th centuries, and the inhumations to date from the mid 6th to 7th centuries. Other features excavated included ring-ditches, some associated with inhumations, and six burnt stone features, apparently surrounding mound 4.
This report attempts to publish all the material known to have been excavated from the cemetery although the urns and their contents from the 1862–3 excavations have become dispersed over the years and many undoubtedly lost. The 1970 and 1972 finds have also been re-examined, re-drawn and are here republished. The final draft of the text was submitted by the authors in May 1998.
No.98, 2002: Excavations at Little Oakley, Essex, 1951–78: Roman Villa and
Saxon Settlement, by P.M.Barford
ISBN 1 85281 221 4; 214pp, 124figs, 18pls, fiche. £14.50
Excavations on the site of a Roman villa at Little Oakley in north-east Essex produced traces of prehistoric occupation, including early Neolithic flint-work and a large assemblage of later prehistoric pottery, although the nature of the Belgic occupation of the site is ambiguous.
In the Flavian period a large timber building was erected over a Roman sunken-floored structure interpreted as an agricultural building. A large fish pond and field ditches were also located to the east and south of the buildings. This was replaced in the 2nd century by a 'corridor villa' with masonry foundations, and in the mid 3rd century a bath block was inserted. To the south and west additional timber buildings were also constructed.
At some date in the 4th or 5th century the villa was dismantled and the rubble used to make platforms, probably for timber buildings. These rubble rafts contained handmade grass-tempered body sherds. Elsewhere on the site, Anglo Saxon occupation of the 5th century is demonstrated by pits and other features containing pottery, and an inhumation. Middle or Late Saxon handmade pottery was also found, but apart from a Saxo-Norman pit, the site appears to have been marginal. Ploughing probably began in the 16th century.
As well as describing the excavation results, this report also includes a detailed consideration of the evidence for the Roman villa estate, and the evolution of the villa estate into Domesday manors and medieval parishes.
No.99, 2002: Excavations at Melford Meadows, Brettenham, 1994: Romano-British and
Early Saxon Occupations, by Andrew Mudd
ISBN 0 904220 24 9; 124pp, 63figs, 10pls. £12.50
In 1994, the Oxford Archaeological Unit examined part of a Romano-British and early Saxon settlement occupying a low sandy ridge on the left bank of the River Thet.
The Romano-British element of the site is interpreted as low status buildings and associated enclosures possibly belonging to a farmstead. The settlement appears to have lain outside, and to the north of, the excavated area.The fact that the excavation only excavated part of the larger site means that statements about size and status must be made with due caution. Occupation probably started in the late 1st century but appears to have been light until the later 3rd and 4th centuries and to have ceased at the end of the 4th century. A small peripheral cemetery showed evidence of a range of burial practices characteristic of the late Roman period, including multiple burials and decapitations. The cemetery may be complete.
The early Saxon occupation started in the 5th century, and appears to have ended in the late 6th or 7th century. In common with many early Saxon settlements, its form and extent remain unclear. The excavation only investigated part of the site, but the main area of occupation appears to have been concentrated to the south of the Roman site and probably extended beyond the excavation area. A scatter of sunken-featured buildings (SFBs), pits, hollows and hearths were examined but no post-built structures were identified. Cultural remains were not prolific but loomweights, and perhaps surprisingly, iron smelting residues, indicate some of the activities practised.
The economies of both periods appear to have been based on mixed farming. In the Roman period charred cereal remains and millstone fragments suggest that crop-processing was important. A significant collection of animal bones associated with the early Saxon occupation indicated a dominance of cattle and it is possible that there was an increased emphasis on pastoralism in the 5th century.
No.107, 2004: Excavations at Stansted Airport, 1986–91 (two vols),
by Richard Havis and Howard Brooks
Volume 1 Prehistoric and Romano-British, 354pp, 9pls, 223figs
Volume 2 Saxon, Medieval and Post-Medieval, 248pp, 3pls, 134figs
ISBN 1 85281 242 7; £50.00
This is an account of the archaeological work begun in 1985 in response to the development of Stansted as
London’s third airport. Originally it was conceived as a medieval landscape project, focusing on the three
known sites in the area — two of which were thought to be Domesday Manors — supplemented by fieldwalking of
the entire development area. By 1991 the fieldwalking programme, coupled with large-scale excavations and
watching briefs, had transformed our understanding of the settlement landscape of north-west Essex, with the
discovery of extensive archaeological deposits dating back to the Neolithic.
The earliest occupation was characterized by Neolithic flint work, and the earliest identified structures were Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age, with one of the largest pottery collections of this date from Essex recovered from a single rubbish pit complex. Both enclosed and open settlements of Middle Iron Age date were excavated. One of these had an impressive entrance-way and substantial corner structures.
A complete defended settlement of the Late Iron Age (75-25 BC) was recorded. It contained a sequence of roundhouses placed around a central square structure, interpreted as a shrine. There is evidence for internal planning of the enclosed space and for the economy of the settlement, including luxury imports.
Roman settlement was represented by a series of sites with cobbled surfaces and enclosures, dating from the 1st to 4th centuries. A 1st to 2nd-century cremation cemetery comprised ‘family’ groups of burials. Two of the burials contained spectacular grave goods including bronze, glass and pottery vessels as well as many other items.
Environmental evidence demonstrated that agricultural activity continued in the Saxon period although no settlement sites were identified.
Occupation flourished in the medieval period, with several sites containing buildings of 12th and 13th century date. The most important of these was a complete farmstead, including barn, dwelling-house, kitchen and byre. All of the medieval sites were abandoned in the late 13th to 14th century.
Detailed analysis was undertaken on the upstanding post-medieval buildings, largely 17th century in origin, prior to their removal, and excavation of the below ground remains followed. The report ends by describing the construction of the Second World War airfield and its subsequent transformation as a major international airport.
No.108, 2005: Excavations at Mill Lane, Thetford, by Heather Wallis
ISBN 0 905594 41 X; 130pp, 6pls, 52figs; £13.00
In 1995 a large-scale excavation was undertaken to the south of the Little Ouse in Thetford, in an area which
had once been part of the Late Saxon settlement.
Analysis of deposits from the river valley has given important new insights into local environmental conditions from the Bronze Age through to the Late Saxon period.
The excavation results have added significantly to our understanding of Late Saxon Thetford, and confirmed that there was no earlier settlement in this part of the town. That the success of Thetford as a large and influential town was fairly short-lived was reflected in the relatively brief main span of activity, which was mostly concentrated in the 10th to early 12th centuries.
The evidence for occupation consisted of post-hole structures and sunken-featured buildings, rubbish pits and wells. As well as indicating domestic habitation, the artefactual evidence included waste products from the working of silver, copper alloy and iron. A number of hearths appear to have been associated with metalworking. Occupation continued, on a much smaller scale, in the 13th and 14th centuries, after which the area became open fields. The site remained open until light industrial development took place in the 20th century.
No.110, 2005: The Saxon and Medieval Settlement at West Fen Road, Ely: the Ashwell Site, by Richard Mortimer, Roderick Regan and Sam Lucy
ISBN 0 9544824 1 7; 200pp, 12pls, 90figs; £20.00
Excavations by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit near Ely city centre produced abundant evidence for Mid and Late Saxon and medieval settlement. From the early 8th century the site saw continuous occupation, often within the same ditched property boundaries, for almost 800 years until its eventual desertion in the 15th century. A detailed reconstruction of the settlement history of the site indicates a very stable, but gradually evolving settlement which probably provided food and other services, originally to the monastic settlement, then to the abbey, and subsequently to the bishops. The finds assemblage suggests that the occupants of the settlement did not enjoy a high-status lifestyle; a lack of imported pottery and of high-value metalwork, and an almost total absence of coinage, all indicate that this site was somewhat removed from the ecclesiastical power centre to the east.
No.111, 2005: The Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and Later Saxon Settlement at Springfield Lyons, Essex, by Sue Tyler and Hilary Major
ISBN 1 85281 244 3; 210pp, 13pls, 118figs; £18.50
This is the second of three reports detailing the excavations of multi-period cropmark sites at Springfield, near Chelmsford, Essex. Excavations at the primarily Neolithic cursus site at Barnes Farm have already been published in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (Buckley et al. 2001), and the excavated features and finds relating to the Saxon period at Springfield Lyons are dealt with here. The third report, which will also appear in East Anglian Archaeology, will discuss the Neolithic occupation and late Bronze Age settlement at Springfield Lyons (Brown, in prep.). The Saxon cemetery is superimposed on the circular Bronze Age enclosure, and may owe its location to the partial survival of the earlier monument.
The Early Saxon features comprised a mixed cremation and inhumation cemetery of over 250 burials. Approximately half of the inhumations contained grave-goods, some worn by the dead (jewellery, belt buckles), and others deposited in the grave with the body (weapons, pottery, buckets). A small number of the cremations also had artefacts (including melted beads and vessel glass) as well as very fragmented cremated bone. In the absence of good bone survival, the grave-goods and the graves themselves are the primary data source for the people buried here, the study of the artefacts indicating gender and relative status, and the study of the grave (orientation and presence, or not, of coffins and other structures) giving an insight into their religious beliefs. Some of the grave-goods are closely datable and give a date range of c. AD 450–700 for the cemetery.
Superimposed on the Early Saxon cemetery was a Late Saxon settlement comprising at least sixteen buildings and associated pits and fence lines. Finds from the settlement (including a silver penny of Aethelred ‘The Unready’) suggest a date range of c. AD 850–1200, but the bulk of the pottery dates to the tenth century, indicating that it is primarily to this century that the settlement belongs. It is likely that the site is the forerunner of Cuton Hall, listed in the Domesday Survey. Modern Cuton Hall lies less than 200m to the south.
A variety of building techniques were employed: sill-beam, post-in-trench, and posts in individual post-holes. Some of the structures may have belonged to the cemetery. The largest post-built hall, for example, appeared to fit into a large gap in the cemetery, suggesting that it could have been contemporary; however, the stratigraphical evidence to prove this is lacking. The majority of the buildings had simple agricultural functions as granaries, barns, cart sheds or animal byres. Two appear to have been more specialised: one may have been a bell tower, the other a post-mill.
No.113, 2006: Excavations at Kilverstone, Norfolk, 2000–02, by Duncan Garrow, Sam Lucy and David Gibson
ISBN-10: 0 9544824 2 5 / ISBN-13: 978 0 9544824 2 8; 250pp, 26pls, 136figs; £20.00
Excavations by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit near Kilverstone revealed an occupation sequence spanning the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Extensive Early Neolithic activity was evidenced by 236 clustered pits containing quantities of pottery, worked and burnt flint, charred hazelnuts and seeds and other material. The site is of national importance, with the number of pits discovered placing it alongside the type-sites of Hurst Fen and Broome Heath. A smaller number of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age pits, along with six cremations and a Middle Iron Age structure, attests to intermittent further activity. In the mid 1st century BC a settlement was established which was occupied until the 4th century AD.
Initially, the later Iron Age/Roman settlement is evidenced by boundary and enclosure ditches, and a number of pits, but the area then saw construction of a series of square and rectangular structures. In the later 2nd century AD, activity appears to have been focused around a large aisled building. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, these buildings were replaced by three circular buildings, one of which is tentatively interpreted as a metallurgical workshop (with a double-acting force pump associated). Outside was a series of pits containing a ‘blacksmith’s hoard’: a stack of pewter plates and a selection of metalworking and agricultural tools.
Activity at the site was again intermittent until perhaps the 6th century, when a small Anglo-Saxon settlement, consisting of at least ten buildings associated with sunken features and four post-built halls, was established. This was probably associated with a small number of burials to the south, four of which were furnished with weapons (though, unusually, none with jewellery), and there was a further urned cremation. No subsequent activity was recorded at the site except for medieval and later field ditches and a ‘Suffolk-type’ brick kiln probably associated with the nearby village of Kilverstone.
No.119, 2007: Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Burial: Morning Thorpe, Spong Hill, Bergh Apton and Westgarth Gardens, by Kenneth Penn and Birte Brugmann with Karen Høilund Nielsen
ISBN 978 0 905594 45 3; 140pp, 74 illustrations; £13.50
In the 1970s, excavations were carried out at the four cemeteries of Morning Thorpe, Bergh Apton, Spong Hill and Westgarth Gardens. Catalogues were published in East Anglian Archaeology but full discussion of the results was withheld, with the intention that catalogue publication would be followed by a single discussion of the four cemeteries. As a result of this publication policy, East Anglia is particularly well represented in national samples of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. The 500 or so inhumations from the four cemeteries form 15–20% of the total number of inhumation graves recorded in East Anglia since the 19th century and had produced the largest body of early Anglo-Saxon material from formal excavations until, in 1997, a large part of an inhumation cemetery was excavated at Lakenheath in Suffolk.
This report presents an analysis of the material culture and inhumation burial practice at the four cemeteries as a source of information on Anglo-Saxon social structure. For this purpose, a chronological framework has been created which allows for distinctions between developments over time and contemporary diversity in the material culture and burial practice at the four cemeteries. This required a selective grave-good analysis focussed on a typology of objects suitable for correspondence analysis, on external dating evidence for types of grave-goods, and on the use of material culture in Anglo-Saxon burial practice.
No.120, 2007: Norwich Greyfriars: Pre-Conquest Town and Medieval Friary, by Phillip A. Emery
ISBN 978 0 905594 46 0; 300pp, 43pls, 153figs; £25.00
Large scale excavations and associated research during 1990–5 have provided new insights into the development of a substantial area within medieval Norwich, to the east of the Castle, at the former Mann Egerton premises on Prince of Wales Road. Archaeological evidence survived for the geography and use of plots dating from the Late Saxon period until the acquisition of this area by the Franciscan Friary in the late 13th century. The remains of at least three small Late Saxon buildings were found. Two of these sunken features, located at the western and eastern extremities of the site, appeared to have been workshops: that to the west contained a penny of Alfred (AD 887–9), although the building itself was evidently in use during the 11th century. Mapping of waste materials allowed a range of manufacturing activities to be located. Mutually exclusive distributions of antler-working and metallurgical debris provided striking evidence of specialisation within identifiable plots. Metalworking evidence included residues from the melting of copper alloys and silver, silver refining and iron smithing. A Viking lead weight bearing the name of Alfred was recovered, probably struck at Norwich in the earlier 880s, and its presence alongside evidence for silver-working suggests possible minting activity.
Archaeological remains from the 12th to 13th centuries include the earliest indications of buildings along the east side of King Street, also a road crossing the area, and traces of adjacent plots. The findings include evidence for the cemetery of St John the Evangelist, which had disappeared by the late 13th century, and possible links to the nearby church of St Vedast. When combined, the new evidence makes important contributions to current understanding of Norwich's developing urban topography and a wide range of socio-economic issues relating to the pre-Friary periods.
No.127, 2008: An Early Saxon Cemetery at Rayleigh, Essex, by Trevor Ennis
ISBN 978 1 84194 086 1; 64pp, 30 illustrations; £10
An early Anglo-Saxon cemetery was identified and excavated within the grounds of the former Park School, Rayleigh, in advance of development. The remains of 145 cremation burials, a further four possible cremation burials, a single possible inhumation burial and sixteen cemetery-related features were excavated over an area of 4325 sq m, most of which had been severely truncated. Although the majority of the cemetery appeared to be within the area of excavation, it is highly likely that further burials lie beyond the southern limit of the development.
Pottery vessels, metalwork and glass beads recovered from the burials indicate that the cemetery was in use from the second half of the 5th century through to the mid 6th century AD, and possibly into the late 6th. A relative paucity of higher status objects, including a complete lack of copper-alloy jewellery, suggests that the interred were part of a low-status, but fairly average, agricultural community. Some of the styles of pottery decoration have parallels in the cemetery at Mucking and in cemeteries in North Kent, indicating cross-Thames movement of goods and craftsmen and perhaps a shared ethnic identity.
A range of pyre goods were recovered in addition to the cremated human bone; all had been burnt at high temperatures. No pyre locations were identified, however. Pyre goods included the remains of food animals, secondary pottery vessels, glass beads and drinking vessels, copper-alloy bucket fittings, iron buckles, knife blades and possible shield rivets. One pit contained a relatively large amount of pyre goods and debris that appeared to have been deliberately buried. The possible inhumation burial contained a complete unburnt glass, amber and jet bead necklace, an iron knife blade and a copper-alloy suspension ring.
The Rayleigh cemetery was situated on the edge of a localised high point overlooking the floodplain of the River Crouch. It may have served a nearby settlement or a number of dispersed rural communities situated on the lower ground to the north and west. Underlying the cemetery was a scatter of prehistoric and Roman features that attest to earlier occupation of the landscape. Early Saxon cemeteries in Essex usually contain inhumation burials or a mix of inhumation and cremation burials. The Rayleigh cemetery is therefore unusual in being predominately comprised of cremation burials. However, it is unlikely that the complete cemetery was excavated and it is possible that further inhumation burials exist to the south of the development area.
No.131, 2009: The Anglo-Saxon Settlement and Cemetery at Bloodmoor Hill, Carlton Colville, Suffolk
by Sam Lucy, Jess Tipper and Alison Dickens
ISBN 978 0 9544824 6 6; 476pp, 16 pls, 241 figs; £40
Excavations at Bloodmoor Hill by the CAU revealed a well-preserved and almost complete early Anglo-Saxon settlement, dating from the 6th to early 8th centuries AD, and a mid to late 7th-century cemetery, which lay within the settlement itself and included high-status female graves. The total excavated area exceeded 30,000sq m, and produced the remains of thirty-eight structures associated with sunken features (Grubenhäuser or SFBs), at least nine well-defined post-buildings (including one post-in-trench), four extensive ‘midden’ heaps or surface spread concentrations, and approximately 270 pits, as well as five hearth or oven bases. The site is remarkable for the amount of metalworking debris in evidence: over 160kg of metalworking slag, including hearth bottoms, crucibles and moulds, together with extensive collections of apparently scrap metal, which was found in concentrations indicative of distinct industrial areas. The site also produced large assemblages of Anglo-Saxon pottery, fired clay, animal bone and other materials. The structures and other features from the site are fully described, and the finds assemblages analysed by category, in order to characterise the status and nature of the settlement and its associated activities. The excavation methodology employed, whereby a proportion of features, including the surface deposits, were dug in spits and metre-squares, has enabled a detailed analysis of artefactual and soil movement across the site through time. Thus, the formation and growth of surface deposits, and the collection and dispersion of rubbish deposits from surface to subsoil feature, are outlined through a series of distribution plots. The end result is a multi-faceted study of one of the most complete early Anglo-Saxon settlements yet to be excavated, which concludes that the settlement may have been an early form of estate centre with associated high-status burial and industrial activity.
In the 1980s work began on construction of the vast underground Castle Mall shopping centre in Norwich. The associated archaeological excavation was one of the largest of its kind in northern Europe, designed to investigate not only the castle bailey but also pre-Conquest settlement and, for the post-Conquest period, areas of the surrounding medieval city.
The report describes evidence for late Saxon streets, houses and graveyards; the developing fortifications of an urban castle established before 1100; gradual encroachment by the townspeople into the castle precinct after the 13th century; documentation relating to the ownership and development of properties within the Castle Fee; crafts and industries associated with these plots — notably bell-founding; a late medieval assemblage of great significance from the barbican well including ironwork, leather waste, bird and animal bone; and sizeable finds assemblages resulting from the steady infilling of castle ditches with domestic and commercial refuse.
Excavations and a watching brief by Northamptonshire Archaeology at St Faith’s Lane uncovered part of a 10th- to 12th-century street frontage comprising incomplete remains of timber structures, pits and ditches. Finds relate to domestic occupation and a metalworking presence that may indicate a nearby forge. In the 13th century, after a period of decline and possible abandonment, the site was incorporated into the precinct of the Franciscan Friary. The Greyfriars soon began burying their dead in a cemetery laid out there, halting only to dig for minerals for a nearby building programme, probably in the 14th century. The burials have an unusual demographic profile which may relate, at least in part, to a Franciscan school of international renown. The site was fully enclosed by a precinct wall in the early 16th century, and after the Dissolution was predominantly garden until redevelopment in the 19th century. Fittingly, the site is now part of a school once more.
Important evidence for occupation spanning the late 1st century (Early Roman) to the 9th century (Middle Saxon) was found by CAM ARC (now Oxford Archaeology East) in 2002.
The initial phase of a Roman farmstead consisted of fragmentary evidence for a ditched field system and livestock enclosures, the layout being altered throughout the Roman period. Barns, trackways, wells and rubbish dumps were also evident, with environmental and artefactual evidence pointing to a predominantly pastoral economy. Both pottery and metalwork imply continuity of settlement at the site from the Roman to the Anglo-Saxon periods.
Early Saxon activity of the 5th–6th centuries is attested by seven sunken-featured buildings, a possible hall, ovens, pits and a contracted (or ‘crouched’) burial. Most of the buildings were deliberately set around a rectangular space, perhaps representing an extended family grouping within a much larger settlement. After a possible hiatus, the site was again used in the Middle Saxon period. The field boundary ditches were replaced by a large enclosure containing a post-hole building and another oven. Metalwork and associated debris in the backfill of an earlier building and nearby pit attest to ferrous working, possibly including steel production, and the gathering of scrap metal for recycling. The site evidently formed part of a Middle Saxon settlement such as a large village, engaged in craft activities and perhaps providing a local market. Its eventual abandonment was probably a result of the defeat of King Edmund at Thetford in 869 and subsequent settlement changes under Danish occupancy.
Excavations at Billingford were located on the periphery of a Romano-British small town the centre of which, as identified from aerial photography, lay to the north of the excavated area.
Ditched field boundaries and droveways, pits and post-holes, a road and an inhumation cemetery of the Romano-British period were found. The road ran from the centre of the settlement towards the 1st-century fort at Swanton Morley. This, along with finds associated with the military, suggests that during the early part of the Romano-British period the fort and town were inter-related.
The cemetery is the largest Romano-British burial ground excavated in Norfolk. Within the graves burials survived only as sand bodies and dating evidence was scarce, although there are indications that the cemetery continued in use into the early 5th century.
A pit containing a copper alloy torc and other ‘votive’ artefacts, and a dispersed coin hoard dating to the late 3rd century were recorded during a watching brief on further areas of topsoil stripping.
Post-Roman activity, although not extensive, was significant. Four Early Saxon buildings were excavated, three of post-hole construction and the other a sunken featured building. Evidence for Middle Saxon iron smelting was found, including a ‘north-German-type’ furnace.
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Shrubland Hall Quarry, Coddenham, was unknown until its discovery during investigation of an Iron Age site. The fifty Anglo-Saxon burials found were possibly the remains of a larger cemetery, extending an unknown distance to the west, the other graves being lost to earlier gravel extraction. While most of the fifty burials lacked grave-goods, or had modest accompaniments, several graves included elaborate grave-goods, some imported, and typical of the later 7th and early 8th century.
The cemetery lay around a probable prehistoric barrow, and barrows were raised over three of the burials. Coins found in two graves give a general date to the cemetery, placing it in the later 7th and early 8th centuries. The grave-goods are mostly typical of the mid-7th to early 8th century, when a distinct range of object types was deposited. The more lavishly provided burials included two in wooden chambers, one of them (Grave 30) a bed burial within a chamber, over which was placed a curved wooden cover, the other (Grave 1), partly removed by earlier quarrying, containing a seax and imported bronze bowl.
As well as the coins, finds included two seaxes, an inlaid iron buckle, a fauchard, two shields, some fragments of a hanging bowl, two other bronze bowls and the remains of three combs. Dress fittings included two silver ‘safety pin’ brooches, typical late 7th-century beads, and a pendant reusing a Frankish gold coin of Dagobert I. In particular, the affinities of the assemblage lie with contemporary cemeteries at Boss Hall and Buttermarket in Ipswich, at Harford Farm in Norfolk, at Burwell and Shudy Camps in Cambridgeshire, and further afield in Kent, Yorkshire and Frankish areas of the continent. Two of the bronze bowls add to a corpus of distinctive imported vessels, whose distribution emphasizes the long-distance connections of contemporary material culture.
Local patterns of settlement also provide a context for the cemetery, which may be the burial place for a high-status community inhabiting a site in the valley below. Coddenham lies close to the Roman road system and to the site of the Roman town of Combretovium, in the Gipping valley to the west. Metal-detecting in the adjacent parish of Barham has recorded another ‘productive’ site, next to the medieval church, with finds similar to those from Coddenham.
This comparative study of three large Middle Saxon faunal assemblages from eastern England reviews the animal bone remains from the Middle Saxon estate centres of Brandon in western Suffolk and Wicken Bonhunt in north-western Essex, and also those from a number of Middle Saxon sites within the town of Ipswich. At that time Ipswich served as an emporium or ‘wic’, a centre of craft production and regional and international trade. All three sites produced large faunal assemblages that were analysed using standard archaeozoological methods. Individual bones were identified to species and body part; the bones were examined for traces of butchery and pathology; ages at death were determined on the basis of dental eruption and wear and epiphyseal fusion of the long bones; and measurements were recorded when possible.
Species ratios, mortality profiles and osteometric data suggest that the inhabitants of Brandon were engaged in specialised wool production. Unlike most other Anglo-Saxon sites, the Middle Saxon features at Wicken Bonhunt produced large numbers of pig bones. The residents of the site may have been engaged in large-scale pork production, and the limited evidence from the late 6th-to-7th century features at the site suggest that specialised pork production may have begun at the site in the later part of the Early Saxon period. Brandon and Wicken Bonhunt also produced rich assemblages of wild birds, including water birds and waders. The Middle Saxon sites from Ipswich yielded a much less diverse bird assemblage. The inhabitants of Ipswich appear to have been provisioned with beef and mutton from the surrounding countryside, but the ageing data indicate that some pigs may have been raised within the town itself. The results are compared to the faunal assemblages that have been recovered from other Early and Middle Saxon sites in eastern England.
Occasional Paper Series
Occ Pap 5, 1998: An Anglo-Saxon Cemetery
at Oxborough, West Norfolk: Excavations in 1990, by Kenneth Penn
ISBN 0 905594 26 6; 30pp, 15figs, 4pls. £6.50
An assessment excavation was carried out
on a low but distinct mound in Oxborough parish where a metal-detector
survey and fieldwalking had recovered forty-one Early Saxon objects and
a concentration of prehistoric flints, suggesting that the mound represented
the remains of a barrow, later re-used as the focus of an Early Saxon cemetery.
Although excavation revealed that the mound was natural, it was encircled by a ring-ditch, possibly in prehistoric times. Ten graves were found, some containing articulated skeletons, others jumbled bones.One skull bore the neat and healed hole of a successful trepanation. Grave-goods were few, perhaps because some had been carried away by the plough. The finds are typical of 'Anglian' burials of the 6th century, except for a silvered bronze buckle of possible Kentish origin.
The results of the excavation were unexpected in that the quantity of finds from the topsoil were thought to indicate a considerable number of Early Saxon graves. In practice, most had been destroyed by ploughing, and their contents brought up to the ploughsoil. This result has implications for excavation strategy and for the interpretation of fieldwork evidence in areas of intense arable farming.
Occ Pap 17, 2004: A prehistoric ritual complex at Eynesbury, Cambridgeshire, by C.J. Ellis
ISBN 1 874350 39 6; 134pp, 12pls, 44figs, £17.50
This report presents the results of an archaeological excavation at Eynesbury in Cambridgeshire, undertaken in 2000–01 by Wessex Archaeology. The site contained the remains of a ritual ceremonial and funerary complex dating from the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, as well as evidence for Romano-British land-use and Saxon occupation.
The prehistoric complex contained two Early Neolithic cursus enclosures, from which OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating results of 4150±350 BC and 4150±340 BC were obtained. An Early Neolithic hengiform ring-ditch was also excavated; oak charcoal from a pit that was used to close an entrance in the ring-ditch provided a radiocarbon date of 3970–3690 cal. BC. A Neolithic long barrow, with placed deposits that included human and animal remains as well as artefacts, was radiocarbon dated to 2900–2350 cal. BC from antler recovered from the base of the ditch. An undated double enclosure is believed to represent another Neolithic ritual or funerary monument, while discrete Neolithic pits containing placed deposits were also excavated.
Later funerary activity included an Early Bronze Age (2400–1500 BC) urned cremation burial and a small number of unurned cremations, at least one of which was of Middle Bronze Age date (1400–1040 cal. BC). A large enclosure made up of c. 440 pits of Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age date (1100–600 BC) may also have been of ritual significance. There was evidence for Late Bronze Age metalworking activity.
In the Romano-British period the site was part of an agricultural landscape, as evidenced by field boundaries and associated stock management enclosures and droveways.
The site also provided evidence for Saxon occupation, including seven sunken-featured buildings recorded in the western part of the site. These dated to the 7th century AD. A small number of associated features were excavated, including large rubbish pits and a smithing furnace for ironworking.
Out of print
No.1 Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and other sites in Suffolk
No.2 Norfolk; Harpley, Swaffham, Langhale, Yarmouth, Kings Lynn
No.3 Suffolk; Sproughton, Martlesham, Icklingham, Ipswich, Ubbeston
No.4 Thetford, Norfolk
No.5 Roman roads and sites, Norfolk
No.6 Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham Norfolk Part I
No.7 Bergh Apton Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Norfolk
No.8 Norfolk; Banham, Brisley Common, Bircham, Shouldham, Hempstead etc.
No.10 Launditch Hundred, Norfolk
No.11 Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham Norfolk Part II
No.12 The barrows of East Anglia
No.14 Trowse, Horning; and Eight Deserted Medieval Villages of Norfolk
No.15 Excavations in Norwich (Norwich Survey), Part I
No.16 Beaker Domestic Sites in the Fen-edge and East Anglia
No.21 Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham Norfolk Part III
No.27 Archaeology and Environment, Lower Welland Valley (Fenland Project Number 1)
No.41 Great Dunmow, Essex: Romano-British Small Town
No.45 Norfolk Survey: Marshland and the Nar Valley (Fenland Project Number 3)
No.47 West Stow, Anglo-Saxon Animal Husbandry
No.51 Ruined and Disused Churches, Norfolk
No.54 Iron Age Forts of Norfolk
No.55 Lincs Survey: SW Fens (Fenland Project Number 5)
No.58 Norwich Households: Medieval and Post-medieval Finds
Occasional Paper No.6 Roman malt house at Stebbing Green, Essex
14 February 2014