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HER Number:MDV12816
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms west of Spriddle Lake

Summary

Site of approximately six peat charcoal burning platforms to the west of Spriddle Lake (previously thought to be hut circles).

Location

Grid Reference:SX 575 798
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/64
  • Pastscape: 439670

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF/F65/58/6399, 036-7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV255418.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Not visible on aerial photographs.


Radcliffe, W., 2004, Spriddle Lake (Correspondence). SDV275809.

A feature identified at SX57507980 in 2004.


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

Approximatley six potential 'Meiler' platforms on the south facing slope to the west of Spriddle Lake are visible on LiDAR plots.
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.


National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape, 439670 (Website). SDV355682.

Circular cropmarks noted to the west of Spriddle Lake from air photos are thought to be peat stacks, following field investigation.


Newman , P., 2018, Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Table 3 (Report - Survey). SDV361635.

Confirmed as peat stacks (previously thought to be hut circles).


National Monument Record, 2018, Pastscape, 1978 (Website). SDV360651.

Features showing as possible hut circles as vegetation marks on aerial photograph (1964) are seen to be peat stacks on the ground. Roughly circular, 5 metres diameter, 1 metre high (citing Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments, 21/8/1978).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV255418Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF/F65/58/6399. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 036-7.
SDV275809Correspondence: Radcliffe, W.. 2004. Spriddle Lake.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor). Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 439670.
SDV356948Report - Interim: Newman , P.. 2012. The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites. Digital. Spriddle Lake.
SDV360651Website: National Monument Record. 2018. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 1978.
SDV361635Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2018. Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound. Table 3. [Mapped feature: #4694 ]

Associated Monuments: none recorded

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

Date Last Edited:Mar 26 2019 12:46PM