Norfolk Iron Age wooden structure

Iceni tribe’s Iron Age road discovered in Geldeston

The discovery of a suspected Iron Age road in Geldeston has highlighted the “potential” of unearthing future finds at sites in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Made of timber and preserved in peat for 2,000 years the south Norfolk structure was  uncovered by archaeologists in June, following on-going flood defence work in the area.
Experts believe that it may have been part of a route across the River Waveney and surrounding wetland.
David Gurney, historic manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “It really does show the potential, both beneath the River Waveney and in Norfolk, of the survival of archeological sites in water-logged or peated sites.
“In the last few years we have had a number of water-logged timber finds in Norfolk and this is the latest one in that sequence.”
Causeways were first found in the area in 2006 at Beccles*, also during flood defence work. The road is believed to have been built by a local Iceni tribe in 75BC and although an exact date has yet to be confirmed Mr Gurney said it is from the Iron Age.
“This linked two parts of the Iceni tribes together and the Norfolk, Suffolk boarder was further south during that time.”
As well as providing a practical way of getting across the wet flood plain, archaeologists believe the road may have been used to travel to a religious or spiritual gathering place.
Mr Gurney added: “It’s probable that it was a road way and was being used simply to help people move around. It could also have been used as a path to a religious or symbolic structure which has since long gone, but that we will never know.
“It is a very important find.”
Because this structure was buried in peat it has been well preserved and archaeologists at the excavation even found rare tool marks in the wood. The road has been dated using dendrochronology, also known as tree-ring dating, where ring patterns on wood are analysed to determine its age, but a more thorough test will be carried out.
The Iceni ruled over the Norfolk area between 100BC to around 100 AD.

*River Waveney, Beccles track [p.6]


Ancient timber post on display at Beccles Museum



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