Sources for Grime’s Graves

This page provides a guide to the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of the late Neolithic flint mines at Grime’s Graves.

Grooved Ware bowl found at Grime’s Graves

One of two late Neolithic Grooved Ware bowls found at the bottom of a mining shaft at Grime’s Graves in 1971
© Trustees of the British Museum

Material Sources/Collections

The main collection of finds from Grime’s Graves is curated by the British Museum, which holds both the Greenwell Collection and most of the assemblages from the excavations by Leslie Armstrong between 1914 and 1939 (see Research on Grime’s Graves). Some of this can be accessed online through the British Museum’s Collection Online service. 

Other collections of Grime’s Graves material are held locally at the Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life in Thetford and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. These collections can be searched online through Norfolk Museums Collections.

A limited amount of excavated material is held at the visitor centre at Grime’s Graves.

Charcoal and pencil drawing of Grime’s Graves, made in 1852

Charcoal and pencil drawing of Grime’s Graves, made in 1852 by the Revd Francis Vyvyan Luke. This is the earliest known sketch of a flint mine
© Norfolk Record Office (PD 312/27)

Visual Sources

   

Norfolk Record Office, Norwich

  • NRS 21394: John Parker’s ‘Map of the manor of Weeting’, 1761 (one of the earliest depictions of the site)
  • PD312/25H: The ‘Weeting Inclosure Award 1775’ )detailing contemporary land use)
  • PD 312/27: charcoal and pencil sketch of the earthworks of Grime’s Graves, 1852, by the Revd Francis Vyvyan Luke of Weeting (from his ‘History of the Parish of Weeting’).

 

Maps and Plans

  • Ordnance Survey (OS) first edition 1-inch map, sheet 65 (1824)
  • OS first edition 25-inch map (1884)
  • OS second edition 25-inch map (1905).

 

Plans and Photographs in the Historic England Archive

Items in the Historic England Archive at Swindon relating to Grime’s Graves include:

  • AL0710: Grime’s Graves – vol 1: album containing 46 photographs, mostly depicting early 20th-century excavations
  • AL0711: Grime’s Graves – vol 2: album containing 26 photographs from the 1970s showing the interiors of the pits
  • PF/GRI: property file containing 131 plans and survey drawings (1931–2002).

More details of these and many other items can be found in the Historic England Archive online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed in the online catalogue, including the archive’s large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the enquiry service.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archive price list.

Published Secondary Sources

 

Excavation Reports

Armstrong, AL, ‘Flint-crust engravings, and associated implements from Grime’s Graves, Norfolk’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, 3 (1921), 434–43

Armstrong, AL, ‘The discovery of engravings upon flint crust at Grime’s Graves, Norf.’, Antiquaries Journal, 1 (1921), 81–6

Armstrong, AL, ‘The Grime’s Graves problem in the light of recent research’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, 5 (1927), 91–136

Armstrong, AL, ‘The Percy Sladen Trust excavations, Grime’s Graves, Norfolk: interim report, 1927–1932’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, 7 (1934), 57–61

Armstrong, AL, ‘Grime’s Graves, Norfolk: report on the excavation of Pit 12’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, 7 (1934), 382–94

Clarke, WG (ed), Report on the Excavations at Grime’s Graves, Weeting, Norfolk, March–May 1914 (London, 1915)

Clutton-Brock, J, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 1: Neolithic Antler Picks from Grimes Graves, Norfolk, and Durrington Walls, Wiltshire: A Biometrical Analysis (London, 1984)

Greenwell, W, ‘On the opening of Grime’s Graves in Norfolk’, Journal of the Ethnological Society of London, new series, 2 (1870), 419–39 [accessed 1 Sept 2015]

Healy, F, ‘Recent work at Grime’s Graves, Weeting with Broomhill’, Norfolk Archaeology, 39 (1985), 175–81

Legge, AJ, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 4: Animals, Environment and the Bronze Age Economy (London, 1992)

Longworth, I, Ellison, A and Rigby, V, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 2: The Neolithic, Bronze Age and Later Pottery (London, 1988)

Longworth, I, Herne, A, Varndell, G and Needham, S, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 3: Shaft X: Bronze Age Flint, Chalk and Metal Working (London, 1991)

Longworth, I and Varndell, G, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 5: Mining in the Deeper Mines (London, 1996)

Longworth, I, Varndell, G and Lech, J, Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk, 1972–1976, Fascicule 6: Exploration and Excavation Beyond the Deep Mines (London, 2012)

Mercer, RJ, Grimes Graves, Norfolk: Excavations 1971–72, volume 1 (London, 1981) [accessed 22 Aug 2016]

Saville, A (ed RJ Mercer), Grimes Graves, Norfolk: Excavations 1971–72, volume 2: the Flint Assemblage (London, 1981) [accessed 22 Aug 2016]

Smith, RA, On the Date of Grime’s Graves and Cissbury Flint-mines (Oxford, 1912) [accessed 1 Sept 2015]

 

Other Published Secondary Sources

Barber, M, Field, D and Topping, P, The Neolithic Flint Mines of England (English Heritage/Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Swindon, 1999) [includes a useful corpus of analytical topographic surveys of every flint mine in England; buy the book]

Burleigh, R, Clutton-Brock, J, Felder, PJ and Sieveking, G de G, ‘A further consideration of Neolithic dogs with special reference to a skeleton from Grime’s Graves (Norfolk), England’, Journal of Archaeological Science, 4:4 (1977), 353–66 [accessed 1 Sept 2015]

Burleigh, R, Hewson, A, Meeks, N, Sieveking, G and Longworth I, ‘British Museum natural radiocarbon measurements X’, Radiocarbon, 21:1 (1979), 41–7 [Grime’s Graves results; accessed 1 Sept 2015]

Healy, F, Marshall, P, Bayliss, A, Cook, G, Bronk Ramsey, C, van der Plicht, J and Dunbar, E, Grime’s Graves, Weeting-with-Broomhill, Norfolk: Radiocarbon Dating and Chronological Modelling, English Heritage Research Report 27/2014 (Swindon, 2014) [accessed 18 Aug 2016]

Lampert, RJ, ‘Grime’s Graves: an unusual flint implement’, Norfolk Archaeology, 33:2 (1963), 236

Linford, NT, Martin, L and Holmes, J, Grime’s Graves, Norfolk: Report on Geophysical Survey, November 2007, English Heritage Research Report 64/2009 (2009) [accessed 1 Sept 2015]

Russell, M, Flint Mines in Neolithic Britain (Stroud, 2000)

Sieveking, G de G, ‘Grime’s Graves and prehistoric European flint mining’, in Subterranean Britain: Aspects of Underground Archaeology, ed H Crawford (London, 1979), 1–43

Sieveking, G de G, Longworth, IH, Hughes, MJ, Clark, AJ and Millett, A, ‘A new survey of Grime’s Graves, Norfolk’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 39 (1973), 182–218

Topping, P, ‘Grime’s Graves mined “for ritual reasons”’, British Archaeology, 18 (October 1996) 2 [accessed 1 Sept 2015]

Topping, P, ‘Structured deposition, symbolism and the English flint mines’, in Man and Flint: Proceedings of the VIIth International Flint Symposium Warszawa, Ostrowiec, September 1995, ed R Schild and Z Sulgostowska (Warsaw, 1997), 127–32 [overview of selected evidence for ritualised mining during the Neolithic period in the UK]

Topping, P, ‘Shaft 27 revisited: an ethnography of Neolithic flint extraction’, in The Cultural Landscape of Prehistoric Mines, ed P Topping and M Lynott (Oxford, 2005), 63–93 [detailed discussion of the deposits and burial from a mine at Cissbury, and, using ethnography, what it can tell us about ritualised mining during the Neolithic period]

Topping, P, Grime’s Graves (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2011) [buy the guidebook]

Topping, P, Pre-industrial Mines and Quarries, English Heritage Introductions to Heritage Assets (London, 2011) [accessed 18 Aug 2016]

Topping, P, ‘Prehistoric extraction: further suggestions from ethnography’, in Flint and Stone in the Neolithic Period, ed A Saville (Oxford, 2011), 271–86 [explores the ethnography of mining and how it can be used to interpret Neolithic flint mines]

Topping, P, ‘The evidence for the seasonal use of the English flint mines’, in Proceedings of the Second International Conference of the UISPP Commission on Flint Mining in Pre- and Protohistoric Times (Madrid, 14–17 October 2009), British Archaeological Reports International Series 2260, ed M Capote, S Consuegra, P Díaz-del-Río and X Terradas (Oxford, 2011), 35–43 [focusing principally on Grime’s Graves]

Tuck, C and Topping, P, ‘Virtually prehistoric: seeing beneath the surface at Grime’s Graves’, in The Cultural Landscape of Prehistoric Mines, ed P Topping and M Lynott (Oxford, 2005), 192–7 [presents the initial results of the English Heritage laser scan of the subterranean workings of Greenwell’s Pit]

Varndell, G, ‘Seeing things: A L Armstrong’s flint crust engravings from Grimes Graves’, in The Cultural Landscape of Prehistoric Mines, ed P Topping and M Lynott (Oxford, 2005), 51–62 [discusses the reliability of Armstrong’s identification of Palaeolithic-style engravings on nodular chalk cortex]

Varndell, G, ‘The Grimes Graves goddess: an inscrutable smile’, in Visualising the Neolithic: Abstraction, Figuration, Performance, Representation, ed A Cochrane and AM Jones (Oxford, 2012), 215–25 [discusses the discovery and nature of the Grime’s Graves ‘goddess’ by the leading expert on chalk carvings]

Whittle, A, Healy, F and Bayliss, A, Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland (Oxford, 2011) [the definitive reworking of the radiocarbon chronology of early Neolithic monuments in the UK and Ireland]

Unpublished Secondary Sources

Barber, M, Field, D and Topping, P, ‘Grime’s Graves, Norfolk: prehistoric flint mines’, English Heritage Survey Report (2000)

Bishop, B, ‘Grimes Graves environs survey’, PhD thesis, University of York, Department of Archaeology (2013)

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