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Industry and the Making of a Rural Landscape

Iron and pottery production at Churchills Farm, Hemyock, Devon

Chris Smart
Publication Year:
246 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 27 tables, 133 figures (93 in colour).
BAR number:


This book presents the results of excavation and analysis of technological remains from the Devon village of Hemyock, on the north-west side of the Blackdown Hills. The first major subject covered is an examination of early medieval iron technology including the largest group of C14-dated furnaces of the late 9th to early 10th centuries in Britain, which has afforded a re-examination and modelling of all other dated examples in the UK, and a review of technological change in iron production. The second major element to this volume is the study of a later major pottery production centre, dated c. 1500-1550, using a combination of microscopic and macroscopic petrology, ICP-MS and QEMSCAN in novel analysis of over 50,000 sherds. The final chapter considers evidence for the contemporary landscape context of and historical framework behind these industries, the relationship with extraction sites, and the wider environmental impacts that they had.

Historic England provided the majority of post-excavation funding that enabled the analyses and this publication.

Chris Smart is an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, specialising in the landscapes of Roman and medieval Britain. His research interests are centred on the role of past societies in shaping agricultural and industrial landscapes. He has led fieldwork on Roman military and elite sites, and medieval mining and processing centres, in South West Britain.

Contributors: Tim Young, John Allan, David Dawson, M.J. Hughes, Roger T. Taylor, Sarah Newstead, Jens C.Ø. Andersen, Gavyn K. Rollinson, Dana Challinor, Julie Jones, Peter Marshall, Matt Tompkins, A.G. Collings, Laurence Keen, Graham Langman, Oliver Kent, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Elaine Dunbar, Paula Reimer

‘This is an important report and one that deserves to be widely read. The methodology and techniques presented should be adopted and adapted to regional and national research agendas for Medieval archaeology.’ Bob Croft, Medieval Archaeology, Vol 64 (1), August 2020

‘…impressive volume…The scientific analyses are reported expansively…a major contribution to our understanding of two rural industries in the Middle Ages’. Bob Silvester, Medieval Settlement Research, Volume 34, November 2019

‘The volume as a whole makes a valuable contribution both to knowledge of Saxon Devon and of early modern South Somerset/East Devon potting.’ Henrietta Quinnell, Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter, September 2018

‘This is an interesting site in terms of the industries taking place and the date range. It will be a useful volume for archaeologists working in the area, and for discussions of the iron and pottery industries on a national level.’ Reviewer, Historic England

‘A very comprehensive account.’ Reviewer, Historic England

Table of Contents (B636_9781407316260_ToC.pdf, 167 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B636_9781407316260_Introduction.pdf, 829 Kb) [Download]