Excavations at Kilverstone: Broom Covert (Area E)

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This report presents an assessment of the results of an archaeological evaluation and excavation at Broom Covert, Kilverstone, Thetford, Norfolk (SMR 37349) undertaken during August and September 2002 by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. It follows on directly from four excavations carried out between December 2000 and June 2001 in two fields immediately to the north, and should be read in conjunction with the report produced for those sites. The site was situated within a small parcel of land on the north-eastern outskirts of Thetford (centred TL 8840 8350). A group of 138 Earlier Neolithic pits was recovered, in addition to the 89 pits of similar date found 150m to the north in Area A of the previous phase. These produced large quantities of worked and burnt flint, pottery, quernstones and hazelnuts. A horseshoe-shaped gully was found in association with two pits containing fragments of burnt bone (possible cremations); these features may date to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age. Three pits were dated to the Roman period. Six graves and an urned cremation, dating to the Early Saxon period, were recovered. Although the skeletons were in an extremely poor state of preservation, the graves produced a number of grave goods, including spears, knives and a shield boss. One pit was 13th/14th century in date; one ditch and a pit were undated. The results of the excavation are of considerable importance. When viewed in conjunction with Area A, the group of Earlier Neolithic pits represents the largest scatter of that date yet found in Britain. The horseshoe-shaped gully, which may date to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, adds an extra dimension to the site. The Roman period features suggest a wide area of land-use at that time, extending at least 500m beyond the settlement core recovered in Area C. The Early Saxon burials may represent the edge of a larger cemetery in the vicinity; they certainly enhance our understanding of the local landscape during that period, providing a wider context for the settlement found during the previous chase.

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