Four stone hut circles and coaxial fields forming part of a stone hut circle settlement on the northern edge of the Shaugh Moor coaxial field system.
Reasons for Designation
Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.
Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type.
The four stone hut circles and coaxial fields forming part of a stone hut circle settlement on the northern edge of the Shaugh Moor coaxial field system survive well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, use and settlement pattern found within an extensive coaxial field system. In the immediate vicinity are a number of related ritual monuments which add to the overall importance of this complex landscape.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes four stone hut circles with parts of the Saddlesborough reave and the Shaugh Moor coaxial field system on a hillside overlooking the Plym Valley. The four stone hut circles straddle the Saddlesborough reave and three are within narrow rectangular fields which form part of the Shaugh Moor coaxial field system. The northern stone hut circle survives outside the field system. Two stone hut circles abut the Saddlesborough reave and two separate cross reaves. The eastern hut survives as a freestanding building, within a field. The stone hut circles vary in size from 4m to 8m in diameter internally and are composed of a combination of rubble and double stone faced walls standing up to 2m wide and 1m high. The eastern hut circle has an interior cross wall.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of the monument, but these are not included within the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.