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HER Number:MDV107500
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms on Blackabrook Hill

Summary

Site of at least twelve peat charcoal burning platforms on Blackabrook Hill

Location

Grid Reference:SX 580 783
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • Peat Burning Platform (Constructed, XI to XIX - 1100 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Newman , P., 2012, The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites, Blackabrook Hill (Report - Interim). SDV356948.

This cluster of at least 12 'Meiler' platforms are sited in a wet area on the upper level sector of Blackabrook Hill. The cluster has been transected by a series of 19th century drains which have disturbed at least one platform.
The existence of a peat charcoal industry on Dartmoor has its origins in the 12th century or earlier. Peat charcoal was used for iron smithing and tin smelting from the Medieval period until the 19th century. It provided a major income for Dartmoor residents. Large areas of suitable peat would have been harvested and dried before being burned to produce charcoal. The platforms onto which these ‘meilers’ were constructed are the only field evidence for the process.
‘Meiler’ platforms comprise raised, usually circular, earthworks with level tops. Although similar to peat drying platforms they lack the peripheral drainage ditch and charcoal samples confirm their use. The level platform was prepared with circular tiers of dried peat bricks with horizontal vents to admit a controlled air flow.
Sites for peat charcoal burning were always on raised ground within areas of visible turf cutting and, on Dartmoor, between altitudes 465 metres and 545 metres OD. The cutting was often extensive and sometimes areas were denuded of peat. The platforms recorded so far are mostly organised in clusters at single locations suggesting that burning was undertaken at regional hubs.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV356948Report - Interim: Newman , P.. 2012. The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites. Digital. Blackabrook Hill. [Mapped feature: #2160 ]

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest
  • EDV7001 - Archaeological and palaeological assessment at Blackbrook Hill
  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area

Date Last Edited:Mar 26 2019 12:46PM