You wouldn't suspect much to be here, really, but this roughly rectangular patch of heath has some surprises. Despite passing nearby here on a regular basis for most of my life, I never thought of stopping to explore. Maybe I didn't consider it 'important' or 'showy' enough? It's hardly Avebury now is it..
Closer examination of the nearby locality reveals close proximity of the Angles Way, a very close Roman road, and several other tasty morsels.
Anyway, I parked half way along the road which passes through Broome, at the sign for the fishing pits, and walked off to the left (SW) corner. Here I stumbled across a small barrow, which didn't appear noted on my map, though has a identification board by it. About a third of it disappears under the fences of some back gardens -(got me wondering how much can/do these people dig on their side when gardening - a bit of blood, fish & bone...and grave goods!).
Then headed up the east side of the heath past the large Neolithic enclosure, which is fairly undecipherable under bushes and scrub, but large enough to note. Walking back towards the middle of the heath, brought me to a larger round barrow, and just beyond that is the long barrow. This runs NE-SW, with the NE end being easier to view. Apparently it aligns to the centre of the nearby enclosure, though it is hard to fathom. There seems to be a slope down (to a ditch?) which runs parallel with the SE side, which if viewed from a way away gives the impression that the long barrow is very large indeed, or sitting on a great mound.
Well, well....I'm glad I did check it out, and I feel I may well be back often.
I went to the heath about a year ago after reading about it here and I hope that I would have distinguished the barrows were there not signs on them. The longbarrow specifically would be impressive given a little care but the heath itself is a fine ancient place and as a once-local I am just glad that there is just something here.
A long barrow, with a linear earthwork extension, near the Broome Heath Neolithic enclosure. Neolithic material has been recovered from the vicinity, though skeletons excavated during the 19th century seem likely to be Saxon.
[TM 34409130; TM 34489130] Tumuli [LB] (1)
When a number of tumuli on Broome Heath were destroyed in 1858 one was excavated. At a depth of 3ft from the surface fragments of charcoal were seen in the soil, and about 6 ft from the top were the remains of a large skeleton, lying on a bed of gravel with head to the SW perhaps the remains of a pagan Saxon. No grave goods were found. A quantity of charcoal was found in one or two of the adjacent tumuli. (2)
Three rude Anglian urns said to have been found on Broome Heath were exhibited at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries,
London, in 1856. They have since disappeared, as has a cinerary urn (perhaps one of the foregoing) and a portion of another with a barbed flint arrowhead shown to the Suffolk Institute of Archaelogy in 1861. The mound on Broome Heath is 160 ft. long, 83 ft. wide and 6ft high. Recognition of the mound as a long barrow is due to Mr. R.R.Clarke. (3-4)
Long barrow and round barrow on Broome Heath, scheduled. (5)
The sand pits on Broome Heath have now been extended and these features have been destroyed. (6)
Only the two published features remain,the round barrow at 'F' - TM 3441 9131 and the long barrow at 'D' - TM 3448 9132.
Resurveyed at 1/2500. Quarrying to the north and south-east has accounted for the remainder of the sites noted on the 6". (7)
The long barrow and other earthworks in the area of the Broome Heath neolithic enclosure (TM 39 SW 7) were surveyed by RCHME as part of the project to record Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic. The round barrows, formerly part of this record, are now recorded separately as TM 39 SW 37.
The long barrow is 46.0m long, aligned approximately NE-SW, and is roughly oval in plan. Its width varies between 20.0m and 24.0m, diminishing in width from SW to NE, though it maintains a fairly constant height of 1.8m. Slight traces of a ditch survive on either side. A low bank extends to the SW on a very slightly different alignment, and appears to overlie the base of the barrow. This feature is 42.0m long, and maintains a width of 7.5m and a height of 0.6m. The association with the nearby enclosure may be significant, as although the broad span of the open side of the enclosure does not appear to relate directly to the barrow, the barrow does seem to be aligned precisely on the centre of the enclosed area, with the broader end facing towards it. The date and function of the bank overlying the long barrow is unclear. It does not seem comparable to known bank barrows. However, references are known to instances of rows of Anglo-Saxon inhumations buried in banks, and this may be a possibility given the Anglo-Saxon finds from the site. See archive report for a full discussion of these earthworks and finds. (8)
( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1957
( 2) Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society Norfolk archaeology : a journal of archaeology and local history Rev. G.J. Chester 5, 1859 Page(s)361-2
( 3) Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society Norfolk archaeology : a journal of archaeology and local history R.R. Clarke 27, 1941 Page(s)245
( 4) Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society Norfolk archaeology : a journal of archaeology and local history A.H.A. Hogg 27, 1941 Page(s)316
( 5) General reference Ancient Monuments in England & Wales, 1965, p75 (Min. Public Buildings & Works)
( 6) Large Scale / Small Scale Map Revisers Comment SS 6" ( M.H. Beck, Reviser, Feb. 1967)
( 7) Field Investigators Comments F1 BHS 22-MAR-67
( 8) General reference RCHME: Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic: Broome Heath
( 9) by Audrey Meaney 1964 A gazetteer of early Anglo-Saxon burial sites Page(s)170