Surrey Archaeological Collections

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Surrey Archaeological Society (2016) Surrey Archaeological Collections [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000221

Saxon iron smelting in Bermondsey? Archaeological investigations at 150-156 Abbey Street

PETER BOYER and LYNNE KEYS

An archaeological excavation at 150-156 Abbey Street, Bermondsey revealed an east-west aligned ditch cut into natural deposits and a parallel line of possible stakeholes to the south. The ditch contained Roman ceramic building material and a quantity of iron slag representing smithing and smelting, together with a coin dated to AD 730-50 and a single sherd of chaff-tempered pottery dated to AD 400-750. The unusual chemical composition of the slag suggests that it may have derived from bog iron ore rather than more commonly utilised raw materials in south-east England. The nature of the slag and its possible Middle Saxon date are of interest for they suggest that the smelting process involving slag tapping may have been reintroduced to England before the Late Saxon period. A small quantity of residual Late Bronze Age pottery was also recovered from both the ditch and the overlying plough soil. Post-medieval activity was represented by dumped deposits and a single late 18th/19th century pit containing a large assemblage of cattle horncores representing the waste from a tannery.

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