Eleven stone hut circles, a length of boundary wall and a field system forming part of an unenclosed settlement on the north-east slope of Sharpitor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007435
Date first listed: 08-Nov-1993
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 56140 70505
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 and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
The stone hut circle settlements and associated field system on the slopes of Sharpitor survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological structures, features and deposits in addition to environmental evidence which, combined, will provide an insight into settlement and agricultural practice on the western side of the Moor.
This monument includes eleven stone hut circles, a length of boundary wall and
a field system situated on the north-east facing slope of Sharpitor
overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. This monument forms the largest
part of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement.
Of the huts, nine are circular in plan and measure between 2m and 8.3m in
diameter. The remaining huts are oval and measure 6m long by 3m wide and 3.3m
long by 2.8m wide. The walls of all the huts are composed of stone and earth
and measure between 0.3m and 0.7m high. The average diameter of the circular
huts is 4.45m and the average height of the walls is 0.5m. Seven of the huts
have visible doorways and five are attached to boundary walls. Four of these
huts are linked by a single length of lyncheted rubble wall curving through
180 degrees, which measures 45m long, 1.6m wide and 0.4m high.
The field system includes the boundaries of one complete field and this
measures 70m north to south by 55m east to west. On the northern side the
boundary consists of a 4m wide lynchet standing up to 1.3m high and elsewhere
it is visible as a low bank averaging 3m wide and 0.2m high. Further traces of
boundary banks are visible to the south-west of this field, but the shape of
the individual field-plots is not discernible because they survive largely as
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 22272
Legacy System: RSM
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE28,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
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