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Charmy Down

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Details of settlement on Pastscape

[ST 76 70] Prior to 1940 an Iron Age field system covered the plateau of Charmy Down [see plan AO/55.57/32:34] Both lynchetted and walled enclosures were present indicating a mixed economy. (1) The field system can still be traced over most of the area indicated on Grimes plan. The banks and lynchets are up to 0.5m. high. ST 754697: Small rectangular fields on Charmy Down shown on AP. The fields, which were divided by low stony banks were probably of Iron Age or Roman date. The area was levelled for airfield construction during WWII (3)
An area of 4.5 ha was surveyed at the request of Wessex Water and Bath Archaeological Trust. The earthworks which are located at the northern end of Charmy Down and comprise elements of field system intergrated with a trackway and settlement features. Construction of an airfield on Charmy Down during the Second World War prompted salvage excavations by W F Grimes, which indicated a broad chronological range of archaeological activity which included extensive areas of prehistoric field system (1). Much of the extant archaeology was destroyed by the wartime building works, leaving only a narrow band of earthworks around the plateau periphery, including the area surveyed by RCHME. The survey is bounded to the N by the escarpment edge of the plateau, and to the S by the remains of Second World War shelters and the airfield perimeter track. The most prominent feature recorded is an embanked trackway, approximately 130m in length and aligned E-W. It is relatively well preserved, with the defining banks surviving to a height of 0.3m and up to 6m wide. To the N and S are a series of rectangular, embanked fields intergrated with the trackway. Similarities of dimensions and constructional techniques strongly suggest that the trackway and fields are broadly contemporary, although there are suggestions of alternatons which indicate a lengthy period of use with phases of sub-divisions and, perhaps, minor re-alignments. The form of the field system would, on analogy with other examples in southern England, suggest an origin sometime in the first millennium BA. Three main areas of potential settlement were noted, all of which appear to post date the initial laying out of the field system. Further isolated rectangular depressions may indicate the presence of further structures. Settlement 'A' is defined by a curvilinear bank, partly encompassing a former field corner and may be associated with the possible structure at 'D'. Settlement 'B' is defined by an L-shaped bank with access from the main E trapezoidal enclosure at 'C', measures 20m by 16m, has an internal sub-division and may overlie the northernmost elements of the field system. Much of the surveyed area is overlain by ridge and furrow cultivation of medieval date, aligned N-S; the gaps between the furrows averaging 9m. At least one of the probable settlement areas ('B'), is overlain by the ridge and furrow, suggesting a prehistoric or Roman date. (4)
A rapid examination of air photography (5a) shows the field system on Charmy Down. (5)
Chance Posted by Chance
12th April 2015ce
Edited 12th April 2015ce

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