MSO9405 - Medieval or post-medieval iron smelting site at western end of Shircombe Slade (Monument)
Please read the caveat document.
Type and Period (3)
- None recorded
Centred at SS 8912 2935. Two slag heaps and the remains of three buildings lie within deciduous woodland on the south side of the River Barle at the western end of Shircombe Slade. The slag heaps are the most prominent feature of the site and are visible as consolidated mossy mounds: the eastern most is 5.7 metres by 10.5 metres and is 0.8 metres high. It has been cut through by an old sunken path towards its northern end. The western slag heap measures 5.7 metres by 4 metres and is 0.6 metres high. Adjacent to the two heaps are three structures. They survive as low rubble banks 0.3 metres high and between 0.7 metres and 2 metres wide, defining buildings with internal measurements of 4.3 metres by 1.7 m, 5.2 metres (minimum) by 2.5 metres and 3.2 metres by 3.2 metres. The site is undated but is presumably medieval or early post-medieval in date. This site was found during field reconnaissance and surveyed at 1:500 scale, 9 September 1998. [1,2] A preliminary assessment suggested technological similarities between the smelting sites of Shircombe Slade West and Shircombe Slade East (also known as New Invention, MSO9406). The survey mentioned by  above surveyed both Shircombe Slade smelting sites following an evaluation excavation at Shircombe Slade East.  The smelting site at Shircombe Slade (West) was excavated over a season of four weeks in 2005. It was selected for excavation due to the apparent survival of structures associated with three small slag heaps similar to those at New Invention (Shircombe Slade (East)). Geophysical survey indicated possible furnaces in at least two of the buildings, an interpretation confirmed by the discovery of stone built furnace foundations during excavation. Two working areas were defined by low walls, each enclosing a smelting furnace and associated slag heaps. A larger structure was interpreted as a domestic structure. In contrast with Roman period sites excavated elsewhere on Exmoor, this site was characterised by the permanency of the stone-built structures, smaller quantities of smelting debris and more precise spatial organisation of the site. A small assemblage of 39 pottery sherds were recovered, 23 of which derived from a single vessel. They were dated in the field to the medieval period. Charcoal samples were taken from three trenches. Short-lived samples from material infilling the furnaces were selected for radiocarbon dating, returning dates spanning the Late Iron Age and early Roman periods. These dates clearly are problematical as they conflict with the ceramic evidence. [6-9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SDE61226 Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1998. Shircombe Slade West/ink survey. 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
- <2> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 9 September 1998.
- <3> SEM7239 Report: Juleff, G.. 1999. Greater Exmoor Early Iron-Working Project: Summary of Activities 1997/98 and 1998/99. P. 2; 3.
- <4> SEM7143 Report: Juleff, G., Rippon, S. + Wilson-North, R.. 2001. Exmoor Iron: An Exploration of the Impact of Past Iron Production on the Environmental and Cultural Landscapes of Greater Exmoor: Project Design. P. 12-13; 20; 21; 22; 23;.
- <5> SEM7246 Report: Richardson, I.. 2004. Blacklake Wood, New Invention and Shircombe Slade; Report on the Documentary and Map Evidence. P.9-10.
- <6> SEM7257 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.16-17; 68-69; 83; 127-130; 155-156; 171.
- <7> SEM6816 Report: Dean, R.. 2004. Gradiometer Survey at Shircombe Slade, Dulverton, Somerset: Interim Report.
- <8> SEM7255 Report: Gillard, M.J.. 2005. Exmoor Iron Project - Shircombe Slade Stratigraphic Report.
- <9> SEM7256 Report: Gale, R.. 2006. Exmoor Iron Project: Shircombe Slade - the Analysis of Charcoal from a Medieval Iron-Working Site.
- <10> SEM6818 Report: Dean, R.. 2004. Exmoor Iron Methodology for the Magnetic Mapping of Iron-Working Sites.
- <11> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1163564, Extant 25 January 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 8911 2935 (59m by 62m)|
|Civil Parish||DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (3)
Related Events/Activities (3)
Related Articles (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1163564 (Pastscape entry: 1163564)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10039
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 82 NE 31
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1163564
- Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 13476
Record last edited
Jan 25 2022 5:05PM
Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.