4.4.4 Bawsey, Norfolk

The 'productive site' at Bawsey lies 4km east of King's Lynn on a pronounced hill, although in the 8th century it may have been much closer to the coast. The ruins of the Norman church of the deserted medieval village sit on top of the hill; this is noted as a berewick in Domesday. The promontory is also a short distance from the 11th-century episcopal manor and later palace at Gaywood. Pestell (2003; 2004) suggests that Bawsey may have been an estate centre for a unit including seven adjacent parishes. During the Middle Saxon period Bawsey may have been directly approachable by sea, but by the 12th century it had been marginalised by falling sea levels and the better river system connections with King's Lynn, which seems to have taken over its trading functions (Pestell 2003, 126; Hutcheson 2006).

Metal-detecting undertaken since 1984 has made Bawsey the most 'productive site' in East Anglia, apart from Ipswich. To date, 109 Anglo-Saxon coins have been recovered with the concentration from the promontory itself. There is a limited amount of other metalwork, including six styli. The VASLE data set was derived from the EMC and the PAS. The Middle Saxon finds are restricted to a ditched enclosure recorded by aerial photography. There is very little Early Anglo-Saxon material and the coins begin in the 7th century with a few gold shillings, but build up c. 700 and step down c. 750-70. Coins are sparse through the mid-9th and late 10th centuries, and then pick up again in the 11th century. Bawsey has a higher proportion of English coins than at the 'South Lincolnshire productive site' – and just under a third were probably produced within East Anglia.

Geophysics and trial trenching undertaken by 'Time Team' in 1998 demonstrated that the enclosure ditch was dated to AD 720-850 from the presence of Ipswich ware in the fill. An area of industrial activity was also recorded, possibly associated with metalworking.

Fingerprint charts for i) artefact date analysis, ii) artefact type analysis, iii) artefact metal analysis and iv) coins – date of production
Artefact date analysis Artefact type analysis Artefact metal analysis Coins - date of production


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