HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV42771
Name:Erme Estuary Ingot Wreck

Summary

Site of prehistoric wreck indicated by finds of tin ingots and timbers

Location

Grid Reference:SX 606 466
Map Sheet:SX64NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishUnknown
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishUNKNOWN

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1439158
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX64NW/54

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WRECK (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV167099.

Untitled Source, 25 (Migrated Record). SDV147939.

Other details: Cited by Fox with no further reference.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Diodorus of Sicily, 1939, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV167111.

Fox, A., 1957, Excavations on Dean Moor in the Avon Valley, 1954-1956 (Article in Serial). SDV167114.

Beagrie, N., 1983, The St. Mawes Ingot, 107-111 (Article in Serial). SDV167110.

Penhallurick, R., 1986, Untitled Source, 222-3 (Monograph). SDV167109.

Other details: Fig 132.

Oldham, N., 1992, Conversation with B. Horner (Personal Comment). SDV167087.

Possibly 6 further ingots found in the same area. Almost pure tin, some gold content. Currently with Oxford Archaeological Institute for analysis.

Palmer, M., 1992, Ingot Site - Bigbury Bay (Report - Interim). SDV167089.

Ingots and 4 sections of timber spread over approx 24m along N (shoreward) side of reef. The ingots were found in small clusters, concentrated to W of timbers. Analysed by Thompsons Laboratories as 40 - 50% with a possibility of original 90% + tin. A total of 27 ingots now raised and undergoing analysis. Timber samples submitted for dendrochronological + c14 analysis.

Anonymous, 1992, Ingots Found off South Devon Coast (Article in Serial). SDV167115.

Bowman, A. C., 1992, Note, 165 (Article in Serial). SDV167088.

6 ingots of pewter and/or tin, weighing between 4 ounces and 22lbs found during 1991 season. Parallels from River Thames dated to Roman period, but type probably used in medieval periods. Results of analysis awaited.

Tyson, J., 1992, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV167086.

Seven tin ingots of irregular shape, convex and flat, 120-400mm, 0.3-1.3kg found by divers in Erme Estuary/Bigbury Bay. Analysed by Oxford Laboratory as 99% pure tin - probable source dartmoor. Another object may be part of a shaped ("handle") ingot with a slightly concave surface, which has more of a manufactured appearance than the above seven.
Dated by Oxford to "pre-medieval" period. Divers working this site believe it may represent the wreck of a Phoenician trading vessel.

Unknown, 1992, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV349340.

Believed to be the oldest shipwreck found in British waters, possibly that of a Phoenician trader from about 1000 BC. The heavily encrusted tin ingots appear to be of amazing purity.

Anonymous, 1993, Bigbury Bay Ingots, 2 (Article in Serial). SDV167116.

Mcdonald, K., 1993, Devon's Bronze-Age Tin, 26-28 (Article in Serial). SDV142694.

McDonald dates ingots and wreck to Bronze Age, but gives no authority.

DNH, 1993, Untitled Source (Schedule Document). SDV167105.

Department of National Heritage, 1993, Untitled Source (Schedule Document). SDV339452.

Oldham, N., 1994, Conversation with A. M. Dick (Personal Comment). SDV167092.

46 ingots recovered as at 24/6/1994. Timber sample submitted for c14 dating produced date of 6300bp; presumably associated with submerged forest.

Gerrard, S., 1994, The Dartmoor Tin Industry: An Archaeological Perspective, 173-198 (Article in Serial). SDV167112.

Dick, A. M., 1994, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV167107.

Area within 100m of 50.18.15N, 03.57.41W designated 24/11/1993.

Unknown, 1994, Untitled Source, 51 (Article in Serial). SDV167091.

Some 40 ingots recovered. Area of 100m around 50.18.15N 03.57.41W designated by DNH as an historic wreck, under Protection of Wrecks Act.

Fox, A., 1995, Tin Ingots from Bigbury Bay, South Devon, 11-23 (Article in Serial). SDV323321.

X-ray diffraction analysis at Bristol University confirmed it as beta-tin. X-ray microprobe analysis of the bulk sample showed the metal to be relatively pure, contaminated only with small quantities of iron, silicon, sulphur + chlorine. No uniformity of size, shape or weight. Most ingots are plano-convex in section, round or oval in shape. Weights range 1.5kg to nearly 13kg. There are some exceptions to the plano-convex shape; one (4.45kg) is rectangular + flat with a thickened rim, indicating that it has been cast in a mould, possibly of stone. Two small examples are 'H'-shaped. These are unique but may be miniature versions of the 72kg ingot found in 1812 in deep water off St. Mawes (see Penhallurick) which Beagrie suggests is medieval. The H-shape of the Bigbury ingots does not appear to be functional given their size but like other small examples in the collection (eg no 36, which has more resemblance to a knuckle bone, as described by Diodorus) each could provide the small amount of tin required by a fine metal worker in bronze.
The variations in the group implies that the ingots were produced by a number of independent smelters and that no special weight was required by prospective purchasers. They are likely to have been produced in Devon or Cornwall. The nearest source of stream tin is on S Dartmoor where ore can be dug as cassiterite from shallow alluvial deposits in river valleys including the Erme + Avon (see Gerrard). The only demonstration of prehiQuinnell).

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1996, Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites Annual Report, 35 (Report - non-specific). SDV358080.

Fox, A., 1996, Tin Ingots from Bigbury Bay, South Devon, 150-151 (Article in Serial). SDV167117.

South West Maritime Archaeology Group, 1997, Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1991 (Report - non-specific). SDV321533.

South West Maritime Archaeology Group, 1997, Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1992/93 (Report - non-specific). SDV321531.

South West Maritime Archaeology Group, 1997, Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1993/94 (Report - non-specific). SDV321532.

South West Maritime Archaeology Group, 1997, Tin Ingot Wreck Site, 1992 (Report - non-specific). SDV167097.

Total weight of recovered tin ingots to date is 84kgs consisting of almost pure tin. Comparable dating of the Erme Estuary ingots suggest the Cypro-Minoan period from 1500BC-1100BC. The carbon 14 date of 4350bc was obtained from one of the 5 timbers located to date.

Mcdonald, K., 2004, A Diver's Guide to the Shipwrecks of Bigbury Bay (Website). SDV321278.

42 ingots of almost pure tin, crudely shaped in earth moulds, typical of Bronze Age work.

Pink, F., 2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV142694Article in Serial: Mcdonald, K.. 1993. Devon's Bronze-Age Tin. Diver. A4 Stapled. 26-28.
SDV147939Migrated Record: 25.
SDV167086Personal Comment: Tyson, J.. 1992. Conversation with A. M. Dick.
SDV167087Personal Comment: Oldham, N.. 1992. Conversation with B. Horner.
SDV167088Article in Serial: Bowman, A. C.. 1992. Note. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploratio. 21. 165.
SDV167089Report - Interim: Palmer, M.. 1992. Ingot Site - Bigbury Bay.
SDV167091Article in Serial: Unknown. 1994. Diver. 51.
SDV167092Personal Comment: Oldham, N.. 1994. Conversation with A. M. Dick.
SDV167097Report - non-specific: South West Maritime Archaeology Group. 1997. Tin Ingot Wreck Site, 1992. History from the Sea: Collection of their six Reports on Historic Wrecks o. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV167099Worksheet: Unknown.
SDV167105Schedule Document: DNH. 1993. Designation Order.
SDV167107Personal Comment: Dick, A. M.. 1994.
SDV167109Monograph: Penhallurick, R.. 1986. Tin in Antiquity. 222-3.
SDV167110Article in Serial: Beagrie, N.. 1983. The St. Mawes Ingot. Cornish Archaeology. 22. 107-111.
SDV167111Monograph: Diodorus of Sicily. 1939. Loeb Classical Library. 22.
SDV167112Article in Serial: Gerrard, S.. 1994. The Dartmoor Tin Industry: An Archaeological Perspective. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 52. 173-198.
SDV167114Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1957. Excavations on Dean Moor in the Avon Valley, 1954-1956. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. Unknown.
SDV167115Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1992. Ingots Found off South Devon Coast. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 2.
SDV167116Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1993. Bigbury Bay Ingots. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 4. 2.
SDV167117Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1996. Tin Ingots from Bigbury Bay, South Devon. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 150-151.
SDV321278Website: Mcdonald, K.. 2004. A Diver's Guide to the Shipwrecks of Bigbury Bay. http://www.divernetxtra.com. Printout + Digital.
SDV321531Report - non-specific: South West Maritime Archaeology Group. 1997. Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1992/93. History from the Sea: Collection of their six Reports on Historic Wrecks o. 1. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV321532Report - non-specific: South West Maritime Archaeology Group. 1997. Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1993/94. History from the Sea: Collection of their six Reports on Historic Wrecks o. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV321533Report - non-specific: South West Maritime Archaeology Group. 1997. Erme Estuary Wreck Site Survey Report, 1991. History from the Sea: Collection of their six Reports on Historic Wrecks o. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV323321Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1995. Tin Ingots from Bigbury Bay, South Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 53. Paperback Volume. 11-23.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV339452Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1993. Protection of Wrecks Order. A4 Stapled.
SDV349340Article in Serial: Unknown. 1992. Daily Telegraph. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. ACD618/4/3. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV358080Report - non-specific: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1996. Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites Annual Report. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2010. A4 Stapled. 35.

Associated Monuments

MDV42773Parent of: ARTEFACT SCATTER in the Parish of Unknown (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Sep 28 2020 5:22PM