One hundred and sixteen archaeological evaluation trenches were excavated on land off Norwich Road, Barham and Claydon in order to inform any archaeological mitigation strategies associated with an application for outline planning permission for phased development of the erection of up to 300 homes.
The evaluation was carried out in conjunction with a geophysical survey of the 17.73ha site and a detailed analytical report of metal detected finds from the site was also commissioned. Archaeological deposits were identified in fifty-five of the trenches with the remaining sixty-one being empty. Pottery recovered from these deposits shows activity on the site from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Settlement continued through the transition to Roman rule and on into the Anglo-Saxon period. A number of both dated and undated ditches were recorded, mainly representing a succession of field systems but also a probable Late Iron Age to Roman double ditched enclosure. Analysis of the metal detected finds suggests high status Anglo-Saxon activity to the east of the site with direct evidence of settlement shown by the excavation of a sunken featured building, containing an inhumation radiocarbon dated to the late sixth to early seventh centuries, and the identification of a buried dark earth deposit. Evidence of further possible structures was identified in the form of a number of postholes, again possibly relating to the Anglo-Saxon period.