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Title:The Site to the East of 'Castle Dene' Culmstock Road Hemyock Devon. Results of Archaeological Evaluation Trenches
Originator:Southwest Archaeology
Summary:Two evaluation trenches were excavated in the western half of a small field to the east of 'Castle Dene', close to Hemyock Castle, prior to development, in which the principle feature of archaeological interest is the substantial earthwork forming a platform lying alongside Culmstock Road. The excavation showed that the bulk of this feature was composed of a clean red clay overlain by a deep topsoil. It sealed a buried soil deposit and was later cut by a linear feature, seen in Trench 1. The buried soil contained sherds of locally manufactured coarseware dated from the 11th-12th century, possibly as late as the 13th century and also a significant quantity of ferrous slag. Finds from the linear feature, running parallel to the roadside hedgebank, included sherds of 14th-15th century pottery and also fragments of ferrous slag. The fill of another linear feature, observed in Trench 2, contained a sherd of local 11th-13th century coarseware There were also quantities of slag in the top soil as well as a typically modern range of finds including sherds of 17th-20th century pottery. The spread of medieval pottery, iron tap slag and charcoal suggest this to have been an important site of industrial use in the smelting and working of iron from the 12th-16th century. Further work may determine if this industry was associated solely with the building and provision of Hemyock Castle or part of the greater Blackdown Hills iron industry. It is suggested that the earthwork was embanked during the medieval period, not earlier than the 11th-12th century but not later than the 14th-15th century. The purpose of the mound of clay was not illuminated by the evaluation but may represent a deliberate dump perhaps from the excavation of the castle moat or it may have been a stockpile of raw material for use in the pottery or iron industries. The latter is perhaps more likely, given the evidence for iron working in the immediate vicinity and the clay may have been intended for constructuing furnaces and other structures. The two linear features were of small size and may have functioned as drainage ditches.

Associated Monuments (3)

MDV72287Earthwork Platform, east of Castle Dene, Hemyock (Monument)
MDV1894Hemyock Castle (Monument)
MDV1886St. Marys Church, Hemyock (Building)