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HER Number:MDV107503
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms on Greena Ball

Summary

A group of nine peat charcoal meilers on the slope of Greena Ball. Previously recorded as barrows.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 568 777
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57NE9
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 439590
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/22
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/23
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/24
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/30
  • Old SAM Ref: 556

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • (Former Type) ROUND BARROW (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • PEAT STAND (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, Greena Ball (Report - Interim). SDV356948.

A cluster of seven 'Meiler' platforms located on the north-east slope of Greena Ball. The largest three of the mounds were formerly designated as 'Tumuli' on Ordnance Survey maps. Map object based on this source.
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.

Newman, P., 2018, Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation, 09/03/2018 (Report - Survey). SDV361635.

A group of nine peat charcoal meilers on the slope of Greena Ball. Previously recorded as barrows.
Good, stable condition. This updated description supersedes all previous entries for this site - these are not barrows or 'tumuli'.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 20/08/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Summary description ?
Four Bronze Age barrows were alleged at this location. However, field investigation suggests that the features are more likely to be peat stacks of uncertain date.

Full description(s) ?
('a' SX56837783, 'b' SX56887784, 'c'SX56947782) Tumuli (NR) (1)

Tumuli correct as shown on OS 6" 'a'(SX56837783) 8.8metres diameter by 0.7metres high. Slight hollow in centre. 'b' (SX56887784) 13.5metres diameter by 1.3metres high. Slight hollow in centre. 'c'(SX56947782) 17.0metres north to south by 11metres east to west by 1.3metres high. All tumuli turf-covered and in very good condition. (2)

"Four oval tumuli, in a peat bog". The fourth 'd' lies at SX56837788. (3-4)

"Rowe describes these tumuli as all mutilated.(b). This may possibly apply to the westernmost of the three; but the central and eastern appear to have suffered nothing more fatal than weathering. (5-6)

Situated within an area of old peat diggings are a number of peaty mounds, the four most prominent of which have been published as 'Tumuli'. The general appearance, construction of the mounds and their position within the peat diggings suggests that they are probably old peat stacks. (7)

"Three round barrows east of Greenaball". (8)

There is no doubt that the published and scheduled barrows are in an area of former peat cutting and are peat mounds. There is a possibility that the peat has developed over a small mound but it seems more likely that each is an old peat stack. (9)

Centred SX 56907783. The four turf stacks are as recorded by authority 9. Though generally in fair condition, a number of small sheep scrapes are encroaching on the sheltered north eastern sides of the mounds. (10)

As recorded by Authority 10. The top of one of the stacks has become exposed revealing it to be of peat construction. (11)

Sources ?
Ref Title (& comments) Year SoR Pages Volume Notes
SX 57 NE/ink survey
1 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. OS 6" 1954
2 Field Investigators Comments F1 JHO 28-JUN-50
3 Annotated Record Map
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. Pte 6" and Index 1938 (J Brailsford 1953)
4 Annotated Record Map
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. Corr 6" (Lady A Fox, 1953)
5 Devonshire Association reports and transactions 460 37, 1905
6 Aerial photograph
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. (F64 58 6399 0038-9 2.7.64)
7 Field Investigators Comments F2 NJA 01-SEP-78
8 Scheduled Monument Notification
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. DOE (IAM) AMs England 1971 54
9 Field Investigators Comments F3 NVQ 07-MAR-79
10 Field Investigators Comments PROBERT SAJ 11-JUL-1994 RCHME Field Investigation
11 Field Investigators Comments Newman P 10-Aug-2004 Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey
3a VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION Book of Dartmoor 1923 272 (Baring-Gould)
5b A perambulation of the antient and royal Forest of Dartmoor and the Venville precincts, or, A topographical survey of their antiquities and scenery 1985 by Samuel Rowe ; revised and corrected by J Brooking Rowe 210

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. South-West Landscape Investigations. Digital. Greena Ball.
SDV361635Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2018. Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation. South-west Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound. 09/03/2018. [Mapped feature: #113051 ]
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 20/08/2021.

Associated Monuments

MDV4597Related to: Cairn on Greena Ball (Monument)
MDV4228Related to: Round Barrow 'A' on Greena Ball (Monument)
MDV4229Related to: Round Barrow 'B' on Greena Ball (Monument)
MDV4587Related to: Round Barrow 'C' east of Greena Ball (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest
  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8713 - Merrivale Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey

Date Last Edited:Aug 20 2021 12:44PM