During an aerial reconnaissance over Norton on the evening of 1st July 1976, Gil Burleigh was able to take this photograph of ring-ditches in an arable field to the east of Church Field, Norton. Buildings on the Blackhorse Road, Letchworth G C, industrial estate are visible top left, with Church Field to the right (west). The view is from the NNE.

Ring ditches near Norton

Ring ditches near Norton (© G R Burleigh)

The ring-ditches in the centre of the photo, one larger to the left and a smaller one to the right, are the remains of two Prehistoric burial mounds (barrows or tumuli), and the larger displays evidence for the last vestiges of the mound inside its surrounding ditch. The barrow remains are showing as crop-marks and best seen from the air. These burial mounds probably date from the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC). There are traces of other crop-marks elsewhere on the field too.

That evening, Gil flew in a two-seater Cessna, piloted by Arthur Thorning, from Luton airport. The pair spent an hour flying low over the north Hertfordshire landscape looking for archaeological sites showing as crop-marks in the prolonged drought conditions, as well as photographing earthworks, such as on Church Field, and other known sites. This was the first of two aerial sorties Arthur and Gil made that year. The second was in October when more sites were photographed.

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