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HER Number:MDV107560
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms on Langcombe Hill


Site of a series of peat charcoal burning platforms on Langcombe Hill


Grid Reference:SX 619 655
Map Sheet:SX66NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishCornwood
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWOOD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHARCOAL BURNING PLATFORM (Constructed, XI to XIX - 1100 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 148-155, Map 50 (Monograph). SDV137656.

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

A series of earthwork platforms on the upper plateau and upper eastern flank of Langcombe Hill. Recorded as cairns by Butler in 1994 but are definite 'Meiler' platform candidates.
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.

Richards, A., 2014, Langcombe Hill (Personal Comment). SDV357001.

Newman gives a National Grid Reference of SX62006167 which is to the south of Harrowthorn Plantation. Langcombe Hill is at SX61776566. The 470 metre contour on the eastern flank of Langcombe Hill is at SX61926550. This Grid Reference has therefore been used for this monument.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137656Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. 148-155, Map 50.
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. Langcombe Hill.
SDV357001Personal Comment: Richards, A.. 2014. Langcombe Hill. [Mapped feature: #2175 ]

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest

Date Last Edited:Apr 16 2024 4:17PM