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23 April 2006
3,000-year-old roundhouse found in Norfolk

Evidence of a roundhouse that could be up to 3,000 years old has been uncovered near the North Sea coast in Norfolk (England). The site in Lowestoft has revealed finds from the Bronze Age and Iron Age including a decorated 5cm plaque made from Jet. Archaeologists working on the one-hectare parcel of industrial land found an enclosure surrounded by ditches and probably used to house an extended family. Experts from Suffolk County Council's Archaeological Field Team moved onto the Hadenham Road site while planning permission was being sought to turn it into a new household waste centre for Lowestoft. After taking away the topsoil, the team started to dig trenches in February.
     Jon Newman from the team said the discovery of Jet, which is made from ancient, compressed wood, was particularly exciting. "We are not quite sure what the decoration is supposed to show, but it is a very fine plaque," he said. The settlement is thought to date back to between 500 and 1,000 BCE and it is hoped that detailed examination of the finds there could reveal metalwork.
     "Later Bronze Age and early Iron Age evidence was found, including the roundhouse, which is about eight to nine metres across, and was made with timber posts set in the ground," added Mr Newman. "The whole enclosure is about 20 metres across. You are talking about something that is getting on for 2,500 to 3,000 years old," he said. "And we are probably talking about a farmhouse for an extended family."
     The finds follow the discovery of flint tools at nearby Pakefield that revealed man was living in northern Europe 700,000 years ago and 200,000 years earlier than had been previously thought.

Source: EDP 24 (19 April 2006)

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