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Coastal Alum Works Project 2017 – Stoupe Brow Update

Archaeological Research Services Ltd has completed the excavations at Stoupe Brow Alum Works to record the remains being subjected to active coastal erosion. The excavations were supported by Historic England and commissioned by the North York Moors National Park Authority as part of their Monument Management Scheme.

Having identified surviving wall foundations and successive phases of floor surfaces of the yard, the last week of the excavations focused on investigating the ‘reservoir’ and drains identified in the cliff-face. The trench on the eastern side of the ‘reservoir’ showed that it had waterproofed stonewalls and flag floor, and was probably used to hold alum liquer brought to the Alum Works from the nearby quarry. It was partially filled and reused as a pond at a later stage after the Alum Works went out of use.

The final trench to be opened located a drain that had previously been recorded in the cliff face. An earlier drain had been recut and a more substantial drain constructed with stone sides and capping. The drain runs towards the south-west corner of the yard, and could have been associated with a building in this part of the site.  

All the trenches have been backfilled and the site reinstated. Work will now start on preparing a report on the excavations which will also discuss how the results of the excavations, combined with the results of the previous fieldwork at Boulby, Kettleness and Saltwick in 2015, can be used as a model for future work on ‘at risk’ coastal erosion sites.