Cunsey Forge Archaeological Survey 2016 Report Summary

The summary report has now been published following on from the excavations carried out in 2016 and coupled with the data recovered from the previous investigation of the site in 2003, the excavation has yielded significant evidence for the evolution of the site, potentially from a medieval bloomery, through intensive use as a bloomsmithy forge, to its reconstruction during the early eighteenth century as a finery forge used in conjunction with the region’s blast furnaces. Physical evidence for bloomeries and seventeenth/eighteenth-century iron forges in the region is very rare, and they represent a monument type that is comparatively poorly understood due to lack of research.

The results of the excavation mostly relate to the use of the site as a refining forge in the early eighteenth century, with considerable potential for elements of the seventeenth-century forge to survive beneath the excavated surface.

The excavation has furnished significant evidence for the internal layout and infrastructure of the main processing area, associated with the finery and chafery forge known from documentary evidence to be operating in the eighteenth century. Situated in the low-lying area at the foot of the retaining bank for the dam across the Cunsey Beck, the eighteenth century forge was undoubtedly water-powered, with the remains of one waterwheel pit being clearly identified on the north-eastern side of the building and the excavations also yielded tantalising evidence for a second waterwheel, situated at the foot of the rock-cut headrace from the mill pond, with the tailrace being adapted subsequently as a drain.

Compelling evidence for a trip hammer at the site was provided by the remarkable remains of an anvil base and evidence for prolonged use of a hammer in this part of the site was provided by the extensive deposit of smithing pan.

You can read the full summary report by downloading a copy from the main project page here.

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