This archaeological survey, to NMP standards, formed part of the Norfolk Aggregates Assessment Project (5241) undertaken by Norfolk Landscape Archaeology (now Norfolk Historic Environment Service), funded by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF).
The main impetus of the project was the proposed alteration to patterns of future aggregate extraction within Norfolk in the next 15 years and the consequent need to plan for the archaeological impact of any changes.
A sampling strategy
The geology of East Anglia is extremely complex, in particular its recent superficial or ‘drift’ geology. A variety of mineral resources are available for exploitation, widely spread across the county.
Four areas were chosen for investigation, defined by aggregate type: Norwich Crag, Plateau Gravels, River Gravels, and Lower Greensand and Fen Edge Gravels. The historic environment was studied using existing resources in these broad study areas.
Sample areas were selected from each aggregate type for detailed investigation and assessment. The largest component of this investigation was the interpretation and mapping of archaeological sites from aerial photographs, to NMP standards.
New archaeological discoveries
The NMP phase of the project recorded more than 500 archaeological sites, over 300 of which were new discoveries. Highlights of the mapping included prehistoric funerary and ceremonial monuments, and enclosures and settlements – some quite extensive – ranging in date from the Iron Age to the post medieval period.
Some of the sites mapped by NMP have already been destroyed by aggregate extraction; others may be threatened in the near future. A proportion have already been the subject of extensive archaeological excavation prior to extraction taking place. For these, the NMP mapping has provided a vital insight into the contemporary landscape surrounding the sites.
For further details about the Norfolk NMP project, please contact:
Norfolk Historic Environment Service, Union House, Gressenhall, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 4DR tel 01362 869283; email email@example.com
Further details of these and other archaeological sites in Norfolk can be found on the Norfolk Heritage Explorer website.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us at: AerialSurvey@english-heritage.org.uk.