Investigations at Kimmeridge Bay by the Dorset Alum and Copperas Industries Project



Bellamy PS, Broadbent G, Corney M, Hawkins A, Trevarthen M & Wilson C (2014) Investigations at Kimmeridge Bay by the Dorset Alum and Copperas Industries Project. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 135, pp. 284-296.

Archaeological investigations were carried out on behalf of the Poole Harbour Heritage Project in Kimmeridge Bay between 2009 and 2010, as part of a project researching the Dorset Alum and Copperas industries. There is documentary evidence for alum production at Kimmeridge in 1569 by John Clavell and 1605-1617 by William Clavell, but the precise location of their works is not known. Earthwork survey revealed the remains of three linked ponds with associated dams and sluices, industrial deposits, and a number of stone and timber structures along the shoreline. The ponds were most likely constructed as part of the early-seventeenth-century alum works. Examination of eroding industrial deposits along the shoreline (at SY 9088 7880) revealed buried beach deposits overlain by an extensive layer of burnt shale and shale ash that may have derived from the earliest alum works. This was sealed by clay and stone structures that may have formed part of a former quay or jetty perhaps also related to William Clavell's industrial ventures. This was buried beneath tips of burnt shale waste, probably relating to nineteenth-century activity. Exploratory excavations and geophysical survey were undertaken around the toilet block (centred on SY 9103 7878) where brick-built furnaces had been previously discovered, but this revealed that the archaeological remains were not extensive. Part of two flues and associated firing pits were found, probably related to the previously discovered furnaces, but they appeared unused. No dating evidence was recovered and no definite link to alum production was found.

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society: Volume 135

Publication date31/12/2014
Date accepted by journal01/09/2014
PublisherDorset Natural History and Archaeological Society
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Dr Clare Wilson

Dr Clare Wilson

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences