Grimes Graves


Useful Information

photography
Antler for digging, Grimes Graves, Great Britain. Public Domain.
photography
Map of a pit, Grimes Graves, Great Britain. Public Domain.
Location: Near Brandon, at the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. 11 km northwest of Thetford off A134.
(52.476014, 0.674680)
Open: APR to SEP daily 10-18.
OCT Wed-Sun 10-17.
Last admission 30 min before closing.
[2021]
Fee: Adults GBP 6.90, Children (5-17) GBP 4.10, Students GBP 6.20, Seniors (65+) GBP 6.20, Family (2+3) GBP 17.90, Family (1+3) GBP 11.
English Heritage Members free.
[2021]
Classification: MineStone Age Flint mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided, MinAge=10.
Photography:  
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: R J Mercer (1981): Grimes Graves, Norfolk Volume I: Excavations 1971-72, English Heritage Archaeological Monographs English Heritage, 2014. doi pdf
Harriet Crawford (1979): Subterranean Britain, Aspects of Underground Archaeology. John Baker, London, 201 pp numerous illus. pp 1-43
Stuart Piggott (1986): Early British craftsmen, Antiquity LX No 230, pp 189-192 doi
J. Clutton-Brock (1984): Excavations at Grimes Graves Norfolk 1972-1976 Fascicule 1, Neolithic Antler Picks From Grimes Graves, Norfolk, And Durrington Walls, Wiltshire: A Biometrical Analysis. British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-1374-3
I. Longworth, A. Herne, G. Varndell, and S. Needham (1991): Excavations at Grimes Graves Norfolk 1972-1976 Fascicule 3, Shaft X: Bronze Age Flint, Chalk and Metalworking. British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-1396-4
Address: Grimes Graves, Lynford, Thetford, Norfolk, IP26 5DE, Tel: +44-1842-810656.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2600 BC begin of mining.
1800 BC end of mining.
1870 first excavations.
1971 begin of archaeological excavations.
1976 end of archaeological excavations.

Geology


Description

Grimes Graves is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. The Anglo-Saxons named the pits in the ground Grim's Graves, after the pagan god Grim, so it could be translated Devil's Holes. The mines provided the flint to make tools. The mine field has an area of 7.6 ha with some 433 pits, 28 pits have been excavated by archaeologists.

Today, visitors can descend 9 m by ladder into one excavated shaft. This circular pit with a diameter of about 6 m has been dug in 1914. It is covered by a concrete raft to protect it from the weather outside. The stone age mines branch off at the floor, about waist high passages which followed a rich layer of flint named floorstone. They were dug with Red Deer antlers as only tools.

A small visitor Centre by the English Heritage has an exhibition which explains the site. Beneath the archaeological origin it also explains the local flora on this huge clearing.