Hut circles and field system SW of Combestone Wood
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002649
Date first listed: 14-Dec-1976
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Hams (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 66951 72276, SX 67081 72073
Two stone hut circles, an enclosure and a length of reave 240m SSW and 440m SSE of Combestone.
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.
Despite being located with the historic boundaries and thus on more intensively used agricultural land the two stone hut circles, an enclosure and a length of reave 240m SSW and 440m SSE of Combestone, survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, use, farming practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 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, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes two stone hut circles an enclosure and a length of reave situated within an extensive coaxial field system on the northern slopes of Combestone Tor overlooking the valley of the River Dart. The southern stone hut circle survives as a circular interior with an up to 6.5m diameter defined by partially orthostatic faced walls standing up to 2m wide and 1m high, terraced into the slope with no clearly defined entrance. The north stone hut circle survives as an up to 10m internal diameter defined by partial faced orthostatic or rubble coursed walls standing up to 1m high. Its doorway is defined by two upright door jambs. This hut circle is built into an enclosure with some orthostatic blocks in its walls. A further length of reave survives to the east.
Other archaeological remains survive in the vicinity, some are scheduled but others have not been included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 976
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993)
PastScape Monument No:-442995
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing