MSO7880 - Prehistoric submerged forest and flint finds at Porlock Weir (Monument)


Mesolithic and Neolithic worked flints, found in the submarine forest at Porlock Weir and its associated land surface.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

[Area: SS 8695 4795] In 1861, a worked flint was found in the 'angular detritus' of the submarine forest at Porlock Weir and in 1869 Boyd-Dawkins, together with the Reverend HH Winwood, examined the forest bed and further flints were discovered including a well-formed flake and chert chippings. [1] A flint flake (in Taunton Museum) was found by the Reverend George Horner in a grass field above high water mark and opposite the submerged forest. [2] There are flint chippings from this site, classified as Mesolithic and Neolithic, in Taunton Castle Museum. [3] "Flint and chert implements dug out of old land surface under the submarine forest at Porlock Weir, Aug 1890, by W. Boyd Dawkins and Reverend H.H. Winwood" (Source not cited; NGR wrongly given as c. SS 835 455). Unspecified numbers of cores and blades or flakes, one microlith and scrapers are in the British Museum. [4] Additional bibliography. [5,6] Peat deposits incorporating tree stumps, small trunks and branches, forming part of the submarine forest, were recorded. An environmental sample site, carried out by the Exmoor National Park, was also surveyed at SS 87224778. For detailed report and plan see Archive Account. [7-11] Submarine Forest (Mesolithic and Neolithic flints found) at SS 8719 4779. The site was not visited. [12] The submarine forest and associated peat layers were surveyed using differential GPS as part of the RCHME Exmoor project. The aim was to accurately locate the area of peat and submarine forest remains. The site extends for an area 140 metres east to west, by 120 metres north to south, and mostly lies to the south of the breakwater, which is exposed at low tide. The largest peat exposures are centred at SS 8721 4779, where they run into shingle deposits. More fragmentary layers of peat lie to the west of the shingle, centred at SS 8714 4776. [13-16] The location of the peat exposures and buried forest was surveyed in detail in 1998 and 2001 to assess the impact of the breaching of the shingle ridge. [17] 'Submarine forest' is written on the Ordnance Survey 6 Inch map. [18] A number of samples have been taken from the timbers in order to carry out radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology in the longer term. [20] The retreat of the shingle ridge has exposed peat deposits and submerged forest material that has not been visible in previous monitoring. The material is eroded. [21] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [22]

Sources/Archives (22)

  • <1> Article in serial: Anonymous. 1872. Ancient Geography of the West of England. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 18. pp 26-33. pp 26-27.
  • <2> Article in serial: St. George Gray, H.. 1915. Additions to the Museum. From January 1st to December 31st, 1915. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 61. Part I, pp 44-58. p44.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 21 July 1965.
  • <4> Monograph: Wymer, J.J. + Bonsall, C.J. (Editors). 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites in England and Wales, with a Gazetteer of Upper Palaeolithic Sites in England and Wales. Council for British Archaeology. CBA Research Report No 20. P.248.
  • <5> Article in serial: St. George Gray, H.. 1908. Report on the Wick Barrow Excavations. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. Part II, pp 1-. p9.
  • <6> Serial: Country Life. 1957, p783.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Pattison, P. and Wilson-North, R.. 1991. Porlock Weir . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Pattison, P. and Wilson-North, R.. 1991. Porlock Weir . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Report: Pattison, P. and Wilson-North, R.. 1991. Porlock Weir, Somerset. RCHME.
  • <10> Archive: Pattison, P. and Wilson-North, R.. 1991. RCHME: Porlock Weir, Somerset.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. P Pattison, and R Wilson-North, 20 November 1991.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <13> Technical drawing: Riley, H.. 1998. Porlock Bay, peat and submerged forest/ink survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <14> Report: Riley, H.. 2001. Porlock Bay, Porlock, Somerset. English Heritage.
  • <15> Archive: Pattison, P., Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. Volume: Porlock Bay, Somerset.
  • <16> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1998.
  • <17> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1995. Porlock Bay and Marsh: A Rapid Preliminary Assessment of the Cultural and Palaeoenvironmental Resource. p24-25, 37-8.
  • <18> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. SS84NE.
  • <19> Article in serial: Straker, V., Weinstock, J. + Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Archaeology of Porlock Beach. Park Life. 8.
  • <20> Article in serial: 2001. Ancient Forest Yields its Secrets. Park Life. 8.
  • <21> Report: McDonnell, R.. 2009. Porlock Bay and Marsh: Archaeological Monitoring 2007-2008 Annual Report.
  • <22> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35864, Extant 7 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8716 4779 (145m by 152m) Surveyed
Map sheet SS84NE

Finds (2)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 2 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 tidal
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE12
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35864
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33942

Record last edited

Feb 7 2022 11:02AM


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