Tanning Pits at Exeter

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Tanning Pits at Exeter

This view shows a pair of pits under excavation at Shooting Marsh Stile, Exeter, in the mid 1980s. The site lies close to the river Exe. The remains of a wooden barrel could be seen in each pit and leather would have been soaked in each of them as it was tanned. One of them evidently held lime, which was used to break down the fatty tissue of animal skins when hide was being prepared. Both pits contained very large numbers of cattle horn cores, showing that the outer horn of cattle was being worked on or near the site.

Acknowledgments: Exeter Archaeology