Romano British settlement known as Charterhouse.
Reasons for Designation
This Romano British settlement and camp is associated with the main centre of the contemporary lead mining industry in the Mendips. The hub of the activity within the town is concentrated at the southern end and extends out to the north east. Charterhouse-on-Mendip represents one of the most important Romano British extractive centres and is certainly one of the more impressive. Limited excavation means there is significant potential for further extensive archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, development, longevity, social, political, economic and cultural aspects, industrial activity, trade, agricultural practices, transport links and communication, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 30 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument, which falls into two areas, includes part of the Romano British settlement known as Charterhouse which is centred on the area called Town Field. The settlement was discovered during the 19th century and included finds of building foundations, furnaces with traces of lead ore, layers of charcoal and scoriae, inscribed lead pigs, bronze fibulae, 1st and 2nd century AD pottery, including Samian and some coins. In the north east section of Town Field a field system of square enclosures defined by very slight banks are visible. Partial excavations in this area in 1948-9 showed the enclosures had been bounded by ditches with low spread banks. Finds of pottery included a 3rd century storage jar. Traces of a street system have also been recognised on aerial photographs and suggest that occupation extended over some 12.1ha focussed on a system of irregular streets defining rows of roughly square shaped plots. The town was undoubtedly connected with lead mining activity and grew after an initial period of military activity which probably passed on to imperial agents or procurators. The lead extraction industry rapidly expanded through to 160 AD after which it began to decline, the town continued into the early 4th century. All these layers, deposits and structures are preserved as predominantly buried features. Visible remains include a rectangular enclosure defined by a bank of up to 0.9m high and buried ditch with a slightly in-turned entrance on the north east side and internal surface irregularities which has been interpreted as a camp.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.