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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Iron-age settlement (Meare East), Meare
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Lake villages NW of Oxenpill [No:349]
Civil Parish: Meare
PRN 12287Geophysical Survey (1997) Meare Villages, Meare
PRN 22804Geophysical survey (1978), Meare Lake Villages
PRN 23810Stone axe find, Meare
PRN 28526Excavation (1966), Meare Village East
PRN 28528Excavation (1982), Meare Village East
PRN 28529Excavation (1984), Meare Village West and Meare Village East
PRN 28536Evaluation (2003), Meare Lake Villages
PRN 29300Excavations (1932-1956), Meare Village East
PRN 31568Auger survey (1998), Meare Lake Village East
PRN 57109Magnetometer survey (1996), Meare Lake Village
PRN 57110Resistivity survey (1996), Meare Lake Villages
Grid Ref: ST 446 421 (ST 44 SW)
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Image: Image of HER 24277 - Coring by Exeter University. Photo by Somerset County Council (October 1998)
  HER 24277 - Coring by Exeter University. Photo by Somerset County Council (October 1998)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown but it should be visible from a public right of way. Please assume that the site is private property. (Low mounds can sometimes be seen.). [Information last updated on 17 December 2002]


Two occupation sites, one at the above NGR, the other further to the west (PRN 23784), have been classified to the Iron age. They were first noticed by a farmer, Mr S. Laver, in 1895 when pottery etc was found when digging post holes. Area was excavated sporadically from 1933 to 1956. There were some 50-60 huts in the area, represented by mounds some 4ft high having successive floors of clay above a foundation of timber and brushwood with central hearths. These huts were circular but there was evidence of earlier rectangular huts. The finds, mostly in Taunton museum, include decorated and coarse pottery, vessels of wood, evidence of spinning and weaving, agriculture and metallurgy, and fibulae (La Tene 1-3) and other personal ornaments. Roman coins from Constantius II to Valens, and pottery including Samian was also found. The results of Bulleid and Gray's excavations were published from 1948 to 1966. {1}

For account of excavations and findings in west village see PRN 23784. {5}

In 1966, Michael Avery excavated part of the area (see PRN 28526). Only an interim report has been published. {6}

Part of the settlement was excavated by the Somerset Levels Project in 1982. Consisted of a dump of material at least 8m long and 4m wide with a maximum height of 1.1m. Covering the slopes was a thin but dense layer of charcoal and broken bone together with a small amount of pottery. A hearth was situated on the top of the mound. No evidence for any structures. Further occupational debris lay beneath a clay layer. {7}

Scheduled as AM 349 but not yet visited by HBMC Field Monument Warden. Surface irregularities in the area of Meare lake village are likely to be the result of archaeological excavations. {8}

A ground-penetrating radar survey by the Centre for Wetland Archaeology at the University of Hull in June 1998 identified earthworks thought to be habitation mounds beyond the eastern edge of the settlement. Coring undertaken by Exeter University in October 1998 suggested that these, in fact, were caused by ditch clearance and the presence of a bank of medieval or later date. {19}

Scheduled area lies in two fields, which are both very flat but scheduled area distinctive with uneven surface and pronounced undulations. Area is permanent pasture which is waterlogged and easily flooded, but has good grass cover. {20}

A number of surveys have been undertaken in recent years in and around Meare East. See PRN 57109 for magnetometer survey in 1996, PRN 57110 for resistivity survey in 1996, PRN 15085 for high resolution survey in 1997 and PRN 12287 for resistivity in 1997. {21}

Part of the site was mistakenly rotavated to a depth of 8cm in September 1990, resulting in previously unexcavated mound 14 being disturbed. Subsequent fieldwalking of the disturbance recovered a number of artefacts including lias rubble, bone, burnt clay and charcoal, flint and pottery. {22}


1 Excavation report - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 44 SW 1 (1978) Location: HER files
2 Excavation report - Bulleid, A and Gray, H St G. The Meare Lake Village.  Vol. 1 (1948) Copy held in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
3 Excavation report - Bulleid, A and Gray, H St G. The Meare Lake Village.  Vol. 2 (1953) Copy held in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
4 Excavation report - Gray, H St G. The Meare Lake Village.  Vol. 3 (1966) Copy held in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
5 Verbal communication - Dennison, E [Ed]. Somerset County Council, Sites and Monuments Record (17/07/1985). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
6 Excavation report - Avery, M. Excavations at Meare East, 1966. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  112 (1968), 21-39 [page 21-39]
7 Excavation report - Orme, BJ, Coles, JM and Silvester, RJ. Meare Village East 1982. Somerset Levels Papers  9 (1983), 49-74
8 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ [Richard]. Somerset County Council claylands aerial photo survey (1985) (ST4442A). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
9 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 218 Run 45E 2145. (12/11/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
10 Description - Coles, JM. Meare East 1932-1986: An introduction. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 27-30
11 Excavation report - Coles, BJ, Rouillard, SE and Backway, C. The 1984 excavations at Meare.. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 30-57
12 Detailed records - Levine, MA. The vertibrate fauna from Meare East 1982. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 61-71
13 Detailed records - Caseldine, AE. The envionmental context of the Meare lake villages. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 73-96
14 Detailed records - Evans, JG. Molusca from the iron age sites at Meare, Somerset. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 97-102
15 Detailed records - Robinson, E. Ostracods from Meare East. Somerset Levels Papers  12 (1986), 103-5
16 Excavation report - Coles, JM. Meare Village East: The Excavations of A. Bulleid and H. St. George Gray 1932-1956. Somerset Levels Papers  13 (1987)
17 Aerial photographs - DAP PW11-15. (1990) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
18 Aerial photographs - NMR ST4442/1. (25/11/1925) Location: HER files.
19 Verbal communication - Brunning, R [Richard]. Somerset County Council (1999). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
20 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (24/11/1999) Report location: HER files under PRN 23784.
21 Verbal communication - Nicholas, M [Matthew]. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (09/07/2003). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
22 Site visit report - Horner, W [Bill]. Somerset County Council (September 1989) Location: HER files.

Record created in July 1985

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