Scowles Survey, Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire County Council, 2007 (updated 2010)

Data copyright © Gloucestershire County Council unless otherwise stated


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Primary contact

Jon Hoyle
Senior Project Officer
Archaeology Service
Gloucestershire County Council
Shire Hall
Westgate Street
Gloucester
GL1 2TH
England
Tel: 01452 426245

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1000302
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Gloucestershire County Council (2010) Scowles Survey, Forest of Dean [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000302

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Introduction

Rock outcrop, located at Symonds Yat

The 'Scowles and Associated Iron Industry Survey' investigated all scowles and known early smelting sites (bloomeries) within the aggregates resource area in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. The project was undertaken by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service and funded through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) as distributed by English Heritage.

Scowles, a landscape feature unique to the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, have traditionally been interpreted as the remains of early open-cast iron ore extraction although recent geological research has suggested that their origins are as subterranean cave systems into which iron ore deposits precipitated from the surface following exposure by geological action, and the extent to which their present form is the result of natural processes or human activity is not currently clear.

The survey was undertaken in three phases:

Phase 1 consisted of desk-based research, collecting information from a range of published and unpublished sources, and assimilating the data into the Gloucestershire Sites and Monuments record which was used as the project database.
Phase 2 consisted of rapid field survey targetting scowles identified by the desk-based research, and searching for unrecorded scowles within an area defined by the geological formations in which they are found.
Phase 3 was the production of a report which summarised the results of Phases 1 and 2 of the survey, made recommendations for further management and archaeological investigation of scowles and reviewed the evidence for the early (pre blast furnace era) iron industry in the Forest of Dean.