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Historic England Research Records

Charmy Down

Hob Uid: 203301
Location :
Bath And North East Somerset
Bath And North East Somerset
Batheaston, St. Catherine, Swainswick
Grid Ref : ST7590070500
Summary : Iron Age and later field system and settlement earthworks, partly damaged by World War II airfield construction.
More information : [ST 76 70] Prior to 1940 an Iron Age field system
covered the plateau of Charmy Down [see plan AO/55.57/32:34]
Both lynchetted and walled enclosures were present indicating a
mixed economy. (1)

The field system can still be traced over most of the area
indicated on Grimes plan. The banks and lynchets are up to
0.5m. high. (2)


ST 754697: Small rectangular fields on Charmy Down shown on AP. The
fields, which were divided by low stony banks were probably of Iron
Age or Roman date. The area was levelled for airfield construction
during WWII (3)

An area of 4.5 ha was surveyed at the request of Wessex Water and Bath Archaeological Trust. The earthworks which are located at the northern end of Charmy Down and comprise elements of field system intergrated with a trackway and settlement features. Construction of an airfield on Charmy Down during the Second World War prompted salvage excavations by W F Grimes, which indicated a broad chronological range of archaeological activity which included extensive areas of prehistoric field system (1). Much of the extant archaeology was destroyed by the wartime building works, leaving only a narrow band of earthworks around the plateau periphery, including the area surveyed by RCHME.

The survey is bounded to the N by the escarpment edge of the plateau, and to the S by the remains of Second World War shelters and the airfield perimeter track. The most prominent feature recorded is an embanked trackway, approximately 130m in length and aligned E-W. It is relatively well preserved, with the defining banks surviving to a height of 0.3m and up to 6m wide. To the N and S are a series of rectangular, embanked fields intergrated with the trackway. Similarities of dimensions and constructional techniques strongly suggest that the trackway and fields are broadly contemporary, although there are suggestions of alternatons which indicate a lengthy period of use with phases of sub-divisions and, perhaps, minor re-alignments. The form of the field system would, on analogy with other examples in southern England, suggest an origin sometime in the first millennium BA.

Three main areas of potential settlement were noted, all of which appear to post date the initial laying out of the field system. Further isolated rectangular depressions may indicate the presence of further structures. Settlement 'A' is defined by a curvilinear bank, partly encompassing a former field corner and may be associated with the possible structure at 'D'. Settlement 'B' is defined by an L-shaped bank with access from the main E trapezoidal enclosure at 'C', measures 20m by 16m, has an internal sub-division and may overlie the northernmost elements of the field system.

Much of the surveyed area is overlain by ridge and furrow cultivation of medieval date, aligned N-S; the gaps between the furrows averaging 9m. At least one of the probable settlement areas ('B'), is overlain by the ridge and furrow, suggesting a prehistoric or Roman date. (4)

A rapid examination of air photography (5a) shows the field system on Charmy Down. (5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Excavations on Defence Sites 1939-1945 1960 223-232 200(plans) (W.F. Grimes).
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 17-MAR-66
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Source Number : 3
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : AP 9 Nov 1935 Archive No311 Ashmolean Mus (GWG Allen)
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Source Number : 3a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Aerial Arch 10 1984 55 AP
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation, 25-JUN-1993, DMcomish
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Andrew Miller/28-JUL-1993/RCHME: AP Primary Recording Project
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Source Number : 5a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : NMR, ST 7569/1-2; ST 7668/2; ST 7669/1/284-8, ST 7669/2/290-3, ST 7669/3/297-8; ST 7769/1, ST 7769/2/294-6, ST 7769/3/300-3, ST 7769/4-7
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Source : Charmy Down
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Source : Charmy Down/pencil survey
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Source : Charmy Down/ink survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Field System, Enclosed Settlement
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Field System
Evidence :

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 76 NE 22
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 76 NE 22
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-03-17
End Date : 1966-03-17
Associated Activities : RCHME: AIR PHOTOGRAPH PRIMARY RECORDING PROJECT 1992-1996
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 76 NE 22
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-06-25
End Date : 1993-06-25