A team of archaeologists from the University of Nottingham are to commence a dig at the Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund, just outside Norwich, looking for evidence of occupation in the Iron Age... continues...
The museum at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham, currently has an exhibition called 'Norfolk's First Farmers'. Items on display include a famous 11,500-year-old antler harpoon used for hunting, and which was dredged up from the sea floor north of Cromer in 1931, and a bronze-age cauldron... continues...
A gold torc made from 25 metres of twisted wire was found in Sedgeford, Norfolk in the 1960s - but it had a bit missing. It went on display in the British Museum (who don't care if things are a bit battered). Now Steve Hammond, a local amateur archaeologist, has found the missing section, about 400 yards away from the original find spot... continues...
It will soon be a shrine to the modern age of commercialism, where shoppers park their cars as they head into the city. But excavation work on the new park-and-ride site at Harford, south of Norwich, has revealed an insight into a rich and intriguing period of the area's ancient history... continues...
A holiday-maker has stumbled upon elaborate carvings believed to date back to the Bronze Age on a large granite stone at Gorleston beach.
The man spotted the markings, which were gouged deep into a rock used as part of the sea defence to protect the promenade and sea wall, and reported his findings to the Norfolk Archaeological Unit... continues...
A cluster of rare flint tools unearthed at Norwich City's football ground could date back 12,000.
Archaeologists have found flint artefacts on the site of a new stand at the club's Carrow Road ground... continues...
I was hoping that I might be able to help Mr. Cope with his next book by suggesting a few places he could visit in Norfolk, perhaps when he plays at UEA here in May. Then the spectre of Foot and Mouth loomed, however two of these three could probably still be visited, as they aren't actually on farmland.
There is very little to actually find in Norfolk, since there is a fairly large amount of reclaimed land here and much of the rest has been heavily ploughed over the years. As such it's likely that many possible sites have now been permanently lost, only the occasional aerial photo giving us a glimpse of what might have been!
So here are a few slightly obscure sites that I have managed to locate...
(1) Arminghall Henge (Map ref. 134 - 239060)
- Just to the south of Norwich, this is likely to be closed off due to foot and mouth as it lies in an area used for pasture, but usually it can be reached via the footpath that cuts though the field - the henge is actually marked on the OS map. Its remarkable that it hasn't been totally destroyed, as it is close to the railway and an electrical sub station (a pylon actually stands on its outer edge). However it has been very nearly ploughed out... you can just make out bank and ditches from ground level. The henge is mentioned in many books (there's a nice bit about it in Mike Pitts' "Hengeworld") and was discovered from the air in 1929 by Wing Commander Insall, who also discovered Woodhenge in the same way. Carbon dating shows it to be contemporary with many dates for Avebury and Durrington Walls. There is an excellent photograph of it (and some of the other places I have mentioned) in the Norfolk Museum Services book "Norfolk from the Air Vol.1"
(2) Ditchingham Longbarrow (Map ref. 134 - 344912)
- Amazingly, this place isn't marked on the OS Map (it's just to the West of the point on the map where the footpath and bridleway cross), yet Broome Heath in Ditchingham must have been a veritable prehistoric metropolis in it's time. Not only is there this huge longbarrow, but there are a number of Bronze Age round barrows close by, and just to the south west of the barrow is a curved enclosure, which can be perceived from the ground. The barrow itself hasn't been officially excavated but the enclosure has and looks to be neolithic. There were certainly a number of flint flakes around with the tell-tale percussion marks on them.
(3) The Stockton Stone (Map ref. 134 - 386946)
- This is marked on the OS Map (it's on the bank between the road and the layby that runs around it) - Norfolk's only standing stone, and at a huge three and a half feet, quite impressive!! A curiosity...the stone itself looks remarkably similar in nature to many of the stones used in Wessex monuments...but is it genuine or not? Even so, why is it there...I haven't really been able to find this one out. Still, a standing stone in Norfolk, no matter how small, is very special.
Once the foot and mouth restrictions are lifted I am hoping to continue to locate what I can of Norfolk's few ancient sites (including an area of barrows at West Rudham - Map ref. 132 - 810253). Also of interest to others might be Warham Camp (Map ref. 132 - 945408) and Holkham Camp (Map ref. 132 - 874447), both Iron Age Hillforts which I think are on farmland - it's been a while since I went last - and the constantly surprising Holme next the Sea - former site of 'Seahenge', the replica of which is on the edge of an orchard, just north of a kink in the road at map. ref 132 - 719433, and clearly visible from the road.
This was not a 'planned' visit - I was on the way, with friends, to nearby Houghton Hall, and our sat nav went wayward.
But hey! We ended up at Anmer, and I was aware that there was a long barrow, and a barrow cemetery in the vicinity. As luck would have it, we drove past Harpley Common, where a couple of barrows sit perfectly at the side of the road, just off the Peddars Way.
I stopped, while my wife took a quick pic out of the car window (true amateurs!) - apologies for it's unglamorous back-drop of pigs....
Anyway, further investigation about the area has made me determined to do it some justice, and explore a wee bit more thoroughly.
I had recently found an old guide book on Grime's Graves, from the 60's, by the exotically titled R. Rainbird Clarke, which had prompted me to revisit the site.
I haven't been here for around nearly a decade, and had forgotten the size of the surrounding area of the flint mines. It truly is quite a striking landscape, hidden deep within the forest.
Firstly I wanted to explore the mound, known as Grimshoe at the eastern edge. This mound found apparently much use later during Saxon times, as a meeting place. In fact understanding how the site had been used through the different periods, reinforced how uniquely important the site is.
I hadn't realised that the 'Goddess' figure found in Pit 15, is now widely thought to be a 'plant' to support the debated belief that the mines dated back to the Palaeolithic, which is kind of a shame. It's an intriguing tale, but would be more so if it were authentic.
With the visit being made on a weekday, late in the lovely sunny afternoon, with virtually no one else there, made it well worth the trip.