An unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 1080m south of Sherberton.
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. Despite some reduction in the heights of the walls through agricultural activity the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 1080m south of Sherberton survives comparatively well and is on quite a large scale and indicates a different approach to settlement and field system layout than the coaxial field system with which it is closely associated. It will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, the uses of the buildings, social organisation, agricultural practices and domestic arrangements especially since some of the more ephemeral remains may be preserved within and between the buildings themselves, and this will also show the overall landscape context of the settlement.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 November 2015. This 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.
An unenclosed stone hut circle settlement situated on the lower north facing slopes of Down Ridge overlooking the River Swincombe. The settlement survives as a scattered group of up to 21 stone hut circles situated downslope of the terminal reave of the Dartmeet coaxial field system and within a field from a later newtake. The hut circles vary in size internally from 2.8m up to 7.5m in diameter and are defined by generally low double faced or rubble walls. The entrances are not usually clearly defined, but most of the huts have been terraced into the slope. Two of the huts are linked by a boundary wall, two have clear annexes, one has an interior wall and one more appears to have a partial outer attached courtyard. Layers and deposits associated with this settlement such as yards, middens, floors and more ephemeral domestic and agricultural structures in and around the settlement are preserved as buried features.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of the monument, some are scheduled, but others are not currently protected and these are not included within the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.