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Author Topic: Historic charcoal making
Ken Hume
Posts: 623
Post Historic charcoal making
on: June 27, 2021, 08:07

We saw these "rings" in a woodland in South Oxfordshire and wondered what they were for or what created them ? The internal diameter is about 6ft.


The South Oxfordshire Archaeology Group have postulated that these rings were created from the past use metal drum type charcoal making kilns. These are set on the ground and then the base is stopped up all around with earth leaving a mineral soil ring once the drum is removed and a sterilized weed free interior.


A lady charcoal maker in West Sussex demonstrates the typical size of a modern metal retort which using simple "Leonardo" proportions is probably between 5 and 6ft diameter and so this matches up quite well to the evidence on / in the ground in South Oxfordshire.


The rings will be revisited to detrmine if there is any evidence of charcoal remaining underneath the leaf litter. Since charcoal is fairly inert it can last for hundreds of years in the ground without showing any signs of detrioration.

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