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HER Number:MDV107562
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms between The Scad and Rattlebrook

Summary

Site of between sixteen and twenty peat charcoal burning platforms between The Scad and Rattlebrook streams

Location

Grid Reference:SX 563 848
Map Sheet:SX58SE
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, The Scad (Report - Interim). SDV356948.

A cluster of betweem sixteen and twenty 'Meiler' platforms on moderately sloping ground on the slope of Amicombe Hill between The Scad and Rattlebrook. This is the clearest and most extensive peat charcoal site on north western Dartmoor with well defined raised platforms clearly visible on LiDAR plot. Some have a slightly hollowed appearance.
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 states that these 'Meiler' platforms are on the north-west slope of Amicombe Hill but The Scad and the National Grid Reference are to the south-west of Amicombe Hill.

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. The Scad. [Mapped feature: #2177 ]
SDV357001Personal Comment: Richards, A.. 2014. Langcombe Hill.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest
  • EDV7620 - Okehampton Artillary Range

Date Last Edited:Mar 26 2019 12:48PM