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HER Number:MDV30877
Name:Slag Heap in Ausewell Wood, Ashburton


The smaller of the two main slag heaps associated with the ore and metal-working complex, located at the northern end of the site. The slag is typical of that from bloomery smelting and is different in character to that from the southern heap which came from a blast furnace. Analysis of charcoal samples from the northern slag heap indicated that coppiced oak was the main source of fuel probably produced on charcoal platforms on the adjacent hillsides.


Grid Reference:SX 726 714
Map Sheet:SX77SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishAshburton
Ecclesiastical ParishASHBURTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Late 16th/early 17th to early 19th century iron and copper working site in Ausewell Woods, Ashburton including a leat, wheelpits, furnace and the foundations of several buildings and structures

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77SW/41/2
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SLAG (XVI to XVIII - 1501 AD to 1800 AD)

Full description

Greeves, T. A. P., 1987, List of donations to the Plymouth Museum (Un-published). SDV243606.

Site visit 19th June 1986. Bloomery slag from the north end of the Ausewell Wood complex.

Newman, P., 1998, Ausewell Wood Ore Processing and Smelting Complex (Report - Survey). SDV350775.

The site of bloomery smelting activity from c1605 in Ausewell Wood is evident from a heap of slag at SX72717148. The heap appears to consist exclusively of iron bloomery slag, including both furnace and tap slag. It is sites to the south of a large artificial channel and is not so much a heap as a spread and the vegetation prevents quantification of its full extent from earthwork evidence alone. Fragments of the slag are also visible on the north side of the channel, though their deposition may be secondary. Two modern vehicle tracks cut through the heap making an evaluation of the dumping regime difficult.
Fragments of a wall which indicate the possibility of a structure are visible on the north-west corner of the heap at SX72717149. The remains are almost totally covered with loam and insufficient masonry is visible to determine if this is a building.

Juleff, G., 2000, Iron Smelting in Ausewell Wood: Evaluation Excavation and Quantitative Sampling of Slag Deposits (Report - Interim). SDV361169.

Crombie, D. S., May 1982, Ironworking at Ausewell Wood, East Dartmoor, Devon, 13-14, 19-21 (Undergraduate Dissertation). SDV350732.

Northern of two major slag deposits. The slag is different in character, being darker, heavier and solid with large air bubbles, to that around the southern furnace site, which may be indicative of a different process or production at a different time. This could be the result of a furnace operating at a lower temperature, perhaps due to insuffiencient fuel, than that which produced the slag at the southern end, or that it is debris from a bloomery hearth.

Gale, R., post 2000, Ausewell Wood, Ashburton, Dartmoor. The Analysis of Charcoal Excavated from Slag Heap 1 (Report - Scientific). SDV351086.

Excavations in 1999 and 2000 exposed the remains of an ore and metal-working complex dating from the late 16th century. Two large dumps of slag were located at either end of the site. Slag from the larger southern heap (SH2) which was associated with a furnace was different in compositional character from that of the smaller heap at the northern end (SH1) which was more typical of bloomery smelting. Charcoal was recovered during both seasons of excavation from SH1 and included intact pieces of roundwood. The quanitity of roundwood recovered indicated that coppiced oak, the main species identified, was the main source of fuel. Birch, ash, hawthorn and willow or popular were also present. The charcoal was almost certainly produced on-site at the charcoal burning platforms on the adjacent hillsides and the ratio of oak to the other species in the samples is probably directly related to their local distribution.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV243606Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1987. List of donations to the Plymouth Museum. Unknown.
SDV350732Undergraduate Dissertation: Crombie, D. S.. May 1982. Ironworking at Ausewell Wood, East Dartmoor, Devon. University of Exeter Dissertation. A4 Bound. 13-14, 19-21. [Mapped feature: #17336 ]
SDV350775Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 1998. Ausewell Wood Ore Processing and Smelting Complex. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown.
SDV351086Report - Scientific: Gale, R.. post 2000. Ausewell Wood, Ashburton, Dartmoor. The Analysis of Charcoal Excavated from Slag Heap 1. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV361169Report - Interim: Juleff, G.. 2000. Iron Smelting in Ausewell Wood: Evaluation Excavation and Quantitative Sampling of Slag Deposits. University of Exeter. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV103390Part of: Iron and Copper Working Site in Ausewell Wood, Ashburton (Monument)
MDV30876Related to: Slag Heap in Ausewell Wood, Ashburton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7543 - Excavation and sampling of slag deposits in Ausewell Wood
  • EDV8114 - Survey of the ore processing site in Ausewell Wood (Ref: AF1183450)

Date Last Edited:Jun 7 2022 1:14PM