MSO9406 - Medieval iron smelting site at eastern end of Shircombe Slade (Monument)
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Type and Period (2)
- None recorded
Two slag heaps on the south side of the River Barle at the eastern end of Shircombe Slade were reported by the Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA) Archaeologist. The western mound is currently being excavated as part of the ENPA/National Trust Earlier Ironworking Project.  A small smelting site in Shircombe Slade Wood comprising two adjacent slag heaps. The first heap measures circa 5.5 metres in diameter and 1 metre high and the second circa 3.5 metres in diameter and 1.25 metres high. The mounds could be mistaken for secondary dumps intended for use in road metalling, but they are composed of large slabs of tapped slag which could not have been transported intact, and therefore indicate in situ working.  Centred at SS 8972 2936 between a well used woodland track and the River Barle are two well defined slag heaps. The western mound is 6.2 metres north-south by 5 metres and is 0.82 metres high. An excavation trench 2 metres long and 0.4 metres wide cuts west-east through the mound revealing a composition of compacted slag. The eastern mound is circular and is 5.3 metres in diameter and 0.7 metres m high. Surveyed at 1:200 with accompanying profiles, 9 September 1998. [3, 10-12] A preliminary assessment of site and the recovered waste debris suggests technological similarities with the smelting site at Shircombe Slade (west) (MSO9406). The site was quantitatively sampled by excavation in September 1998. Following excavation the site was surveyed by the RCHME, an aim of the survey being to record the excavated section of the larger slag heap to aid calculating the volume of the heap, to potentially extrapolate the level of metal production from the site. Two radiocarbon dates have been returned for this site. The first, from a sample taken from a level 60 centimetres below modern ground level has returned a date of AD 1260-1400 (calibrated). The second sample, from above a clay base has returned a date of AD 1225-1310 (calibrated). [4,5] The site and technological debris deposits at Shircombe Slade (East) are similar in character to that at Shircombe Slade (West) (MSO9406) and New Invention to the southeast (MEM15417), characterised by relatively small in situ deposits of smelting waste probably generated over short period of time. All three sites have undergone small scale investigation and sampling, resulting in small assemblages of technological debris, of great value as comparative intersite material with which to examine variation in the character of debris from medieval iron smelting sites.  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> SEM1 Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. V. Heal, ENPA Archaeologist.
- <2> SEM6912 Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor: Preliminary Survey. P. 18-19; 30, Table 1..
- <3> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 9 September 1998.
- <4> SEM7258 Unpublished document: Juleff, G.. 1999. Charcoal Samples Sent for C14 Dating.
- <5> SEM7239 Report: Juleff, G.. 1999. Greater Exmoor Early Iron-Working Project: Summary of Activities 1997/98 and 1998/99. P. 1-2; 3; 4-7.
- <6> SEM7105 Report: Juleff, G., Rippon, S. + Wilson-North, R.. 2000. Greater Exmoor Early Iron-Working Project: Project Outline. P. 5.
- <7> 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; 32;.
- <8> SEM7246 Report: Richardson, I.. 2004. Blacklake Wood, New Invention and Shircombe Slade; Report on the Documentary and Map Evidence. P.7-8.
- <9> 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.19-21; 133-134; 174.
- <10> SEM340944 Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1998. Shircombe Slade/pencil survey. Permatrace. Pencil.
- <11> SEM340943 Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1998. Shircombe Slade/ink survey. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
- <12> SEM340942 Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1998. Shircombe Slade/ink survey. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
- <13> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1163589, Extant 25 January 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 8971 2933 (79m by 62m)|
|Civil Parish||DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (3)
Related Events/Activities (4)
Related Articles (2)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1163589 (Pastscape entry: 1163589)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10040
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 82 NE 32
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- NBR Index Number: 1269210
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1163589
- Somerset SMR PRN: 13477
Record last edited
Jan 25 2022 5:20PM
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