Monument record MNL 014 - Hurst Fen Neolithic Site, Mildenhall (Neolithic)

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Scheduled site of partially excavated extensive Neo settlement & typesite for Mildenhall Ware.


Grid reference Centred TL 7250 7687 (409m by 446m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL77NW


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Site of partially excavated extensive Neo settlement. Revealed initially by surface finds in an area of sandy hummocks covered with rough grass with adjacent swampy low-lying areas.

According to Fawcett Notebook in Briscoe Archive, Fawcett had sporadic excavations on the Hurst Fen during the 1940-1950 period. He sent a report and finds of flint and pottery to Prof Evans, Institute of Archaeology, London. In 1966 he sent notes to Dr Bushwell, Mildenhall Museum, from which Briscoe made notes in the Fawcett Notebook (S1).

Trial excavations and fieldwork suggested approximate are of 180 yards by 90 yards (S2), however, material exposed by recent ploughing shows area much larger. Trial excavations in 1951 consisted of small trenches producing artefacts and evidence of pits (S3). Later excavations in 1954, 1957 and 1958 opened an area of 20,000 square feet and revealed a series of pits, post holes and two ditches, together with pottery, flint and stone artefacts, animal bones and carbonised organic remains, although no determinable house plans (S2).

Amongst the material were possible Mes finds although Wymer considered these to be a possible component of the Neo industry (S4).
Areas within the N of the scheduled area bulldozed in 1982 (see MNL 282), nothing observed. Nothing visible on APs (S5,R1).
Type site for Neo `Mildenhall ware' (S2,R2).

Laurel leaf picked up by J King, Mildenhall, 1983 (S6). Also Mildenhall ware rim in Cambridge Museum from "near Bombay Cottage" (now demolished, originally at TL 721 766 (approx), probably from this site (S7).

1988: Further finds from extensive and prolific scatter still being found all over site including microliths, laurel leaves, leaf arrowheads, flint and stone axes - all unrecorded and removed from site by several unnamed persons and also pottery, mainly left on site (S6).

Spring 1988: Trees at N end of site now removed. Whole of site covered with profuse scatter sometimes in recognisable knapping areas containing plentiful unpatinated flakes, broken leaf arrowheads & laurel leaves and occasional microliths (Neo?). Other microliths elsewhere on site also recorded and some can be separated on grounds of patination, presumably Mesolithic. Only area relatively thin is SW part of scheduled area (at least one area of finds there bulldozed over). Finds for Spring 1988 include `fine flint sickle, completely bifacially worked, circa 5 inches long, slightly curved with both edges sharp'; pottery; three greenstone axes (2 whole, 1 slightly damaged); laurel leaves; circa 20 leaf arrowheads plus numerous broken arrowheads, laurel leaves and axe flakes. Other finds have been made for at least 20 years by same person including `hundreds' of leaf arrowheads, two complete flint axes, one complete greenstone axe, laurel leaves; plentiful broken leaf arrowheads, stone & flint axe flakes, pottery etc., and also some saddle querns, one being very large (S8).

Clarks excavation archive in Cambridge University Museum (S9) Some stone axe flakes examined petrologically - all group VI (S14). For a reappraisal of the lithic analysis, especially regarding symbolism, see (R3).

1996: Finds include 37 sherds `Grimston' type and 6 sherds `Mildenhall' type pottery (S8).

1997: Further fieldwalking finds said to include 36 leaf arrowheads, 2 lances (laurel leaves?), a rough axe and at least 60 scrapers as a result of about three visits (S8).
For report on 78 sherds (EIA or Neo?) found in early 1997 see (S10).

See also Meolithic & Bronze Age records.

Sources/Archives (24)

  • --- Article in serial: Clark, J. G. D.. 1960. Excavations at the Neolithic Site at Hurst Fen, Mildenhall, Suffolk.
  • --- Finds Illustration: SCCAS. Laurel Leaf.
  • <S1> (No record type): Clough, T.H.Mck. & Green, B.. McKclough T H & Green B, `The Petrological Identification of Stone Implements from East Anglia', PPS.
  • <S1> (No record type): Briscoe Lady G, Notebook re Fawcett.
  • <S1> (No record type): AM 107 (72/14373).
  • <R1> (No record type): APs (RAF 106G/UK/1589 3096-7, 21/6/46).
  • <S1> (No record type): CBA group 7 bulletin, 1, 1954.
  • <S1> (No record type): Clough T H McK and Cummins W A (eds), Stone Axe Studies, 2, CBA RR, 67, 1988, 180, nos 38-40, 103-11.
  • <S1> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card Neo, 1960.
  • <R2> (No record type): Smith Dr I, PPS, 20, 1954, 224-226.
  • <S2> (No record type): Clark J G D et al, PPS, 26, 1960, 202-245 (ill).
  • <M2> (No record type): SAM file: DOE AM 72, scheduling notification, map, correspondence.
  • <S3> (No record type): Briscoe G, PCAS, 47, 1954, 13-24 (ill).
  • <R3> (No record type): Brown A G, The changing role of lithic artefacts in later preh England, upub PhD thesis, Univ of Rea.
  • <R3> (No record type): Piggott S, The Neo Cultures of the British Isles, 72-74.
  • <M3> (No record type): Lady G Briscoe archive: Fawcett Notebook, diaries, notes.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Wymer, J.J. & Bonsall, C.J.. 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic sites in England and Wales, CBA Research Report 20. 262.
  • <S5> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL77NW21 (map).
  • <S6> (No record type): King, J.. King Jack, 1983 & 1988.
  • <S7> (No record type): Leaf, C.S.. Leaf C S, PCAS, 35, 1935, 108 (footnote), fig 6, 30.
  • <S8> (No record type): Per SAU, Pendleton C, September 1988, September 1996 & April 1997.
  • <S9> Excavation archive: Clark. Site notes etc., Cambridge University Museum, Suffolk archive. Clark, Site notes etc., Cambridge University Museum, Suffolk archive.
  • <S10> Finds Report: Plouviez, J.. 1995. SCCAS Finds Record:. King J per SAU (CP & EM), Finds Report, July 1999.
  • <S11> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. 27, pg 44.

Finds (17)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jan 26 2021 10:55AM

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