Dartmoor: A Pre-National Mapping Programme project
The Dartmoor project was an early pre-National Mapping Programme survey undertaken in 1984-5. Covering the Dartmoor National Park and an adjacent area of south-west Dartmoor, the main objective was to identify sites or areas worthy of protection through scheduling, as well as to update the Devon Sites and Monuments Record. Other survey and excavation projects on Dartmoor were transforming archaeological understanding of the area, and the aerial survey was also intended as a contribution to this process.
A major aim of this project was to map some of the extensive Bronze Age field systems known to exist on Dartmoor. Defined by low stone banks known as reaves, their existence had long been known, but their Bronze Age date had only recently been recognised. In conjunction with other survey and excavation projects, the mapping aided understanding of the nature and extent of these systems, their relationship to the landscape, and their connections with other prehistoric features including settlements, funerary and ritual monuments.
An important outcome of this project was the extensive mapping of industrial sites of medieval and later periods. There is a long history of tin mining on Dartmoor and evidence of both mineral extraction and processing was identified. Mapped sites include tin streamworks, openworks and their associated leats, one of which is about 11km long. Shafts, trail pits, tin mills and blowing houses were also recorded. Other industries mapped range from China clay extraction to peat-cutting.
One of the rights of Dartmoor commoners was to cut peat and there is widespread evidence of peat cutting on Dartmoor visible on aerial photographs. Rows of peat-ties or ‘turf-tyes’ can be seen, often fanning out from summit points.
The key results of the project were incorporated in the Dartmoor volume and a project report:
The images used on this page are copyright Historic England unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project, please contact the Historic England Archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Remote Sensing Team please contact us via email using the link below.
Historic Places Investigation
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