The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




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.
Rob Gillespie Posted by Rob Gillespie
17th April 2001ce
Edited 15th February 2006ce

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