Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and tinners' buildings west of Dead Lake
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007983
Date first listed: 11-Jan-1965
Date of most recent amendment: 24-Feb-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)
Parish: Peter Tavy
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 56417 78206
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 unenclosed stone hut circle settlement west of Dead Lake survives comparatively well and is the furthest upstream settlement known in the valley of the River Walkham. The settlement contains archaeological evidence relating to the monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived and, as such, provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation in a more remote part of the Moor. Peat bog deposits in the immediate vicinity of the settlement will provide a rich source of environmental information. The location of the settlement in close proximity to rich tin deposits means that information concerning Prehistoric tinworking may survive. In the historic period three of the huts were re-modelled by tinners to provide storage and shelter accommodation and these will provide a source of information regarding the character and organisation of the Dartmoor tin industry.
This monument includes thirteen stone hut circles, forming the largest part of
an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, and four medieval or post-medieval
tinners' buildings. The monument is situated on a gentle south-facing slope
within the valley of the River Walkham and the huts are all terraced into the
hillside. Ten of the huts are circular in plan and measure between 2.6m and
4.3m in diameter. The remaining huts are oval in shape and measure between
1.7m and 3.5m long and 1.1m and 2.3m wide. The walls of all the huts are
composed of stone and earth and measure between 0.2m and 0.7m high. One of
the huts has an annexe, another has a courtyard, one has a porch and seven
have visible doorways.
The tinners' buildings are all built inside the earlier stone hut circles.
Two are rectangular in plan and are composed of rubble walls, whilst the
others are small circular structures with corbelled walls. These buildings
are associated with the nearby tin streamworks at Dead Lake.
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: 22217
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Greeves, T A P, The Devon Tin Industry 1450 -1750, (1981)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NE10,
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