MEM15418 - Iron Smelting Site, Clatworthy Reservoir [outside Park boundary] (Monument)


Iron smelting activity is evidenced in the area now covered by the southern part of Clatworthy reservoir by metalworking debris, including slag, furnace lining and pottery. Ceramic and glass finds date the activity to the Roman period.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive Roman smelting site on the southern bank of Clatworthy reservoir. Following a 2003 survey carried out by staff from English Heritage field survey team in Exeter and a walkover surveys under the aegis of the Exmoor Iron project, the site was excavated during a period of unusually low water levels in 2005. Excavation revealed the metalworking deposits to be largely undisturbed and a substantial ceramic assemblage was also retrieved. The assemblage is composed largely of local or regional wares but also includes finewares such as samian and imported amphorae, dating the site to the 2nd century AD. Other finds included fragments of a glass drinking vessel and window glass and fragments of roof tile and hypocaust flue tile, indicating high-status structures in this area. A large ceramic assemblage comprising unstratified sherds collected since the creation of the reservoir is also held by Taunton museum. 28 selected samples and 11 bulk samples were taken during the excavation, including a large sample of charcoal mainly comprising oak heartwood but also some holly, birch and alder. Unfortunately only a small amount proved to be suitable for radiocarbon dating, probably resulting in reduced accuracy. The dated samples returned values ranging from middle Iron Age to mid-3rd century AD, conflicting with ceramic evidence which securely placed the sites into the period of the 1st to 2nd century. (1-5)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Report: Juleff, G. + Bray, L.. 2007. Exmoor Iron: An Exploration of the Impact of Past Iron Production on the Environmental and Cultural Landscapes of Greater Exmoor: Post-Excavation Assessment. P.18-19; 83; 130; 159; 173-4.
  • <2> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2003. Preliminary Report on Phase 1 of a Field Survey at Clatworthy Reservoir, Undertaken During the Low Water Period of Summer and Autumn 2003.
  • <3> Report: Bray, L.. 2005. Preliminary Report on Phases 2 and 3 of the Site Assessment of Clatworthy Reservoir, West Somerset.
  • <4> Report: Bray, L.. 2003. Clatworthy Reservoir.
  • <5> Report: Newman, P.. 2003. Interim Survey Report: Clatworthy Iron Slag Deposits.
  • <6> Monograph: Bray, L.S.. 2006. The Archaeology of Iron Production: Romano-British Evidence from the Exmoor Region. P.131-141, 312-313.



Grid reference Centred ST 036 305 (558m by 276m) (Surveyed)
Map sheet ST03SW

Finds (9)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35065

Record last edited

Dec 5 2018 4:49PM


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