An enclosed stone hut circle settlement, three round cairns and a length of reave 650m WSW of Ger Tor
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- Peter Tavy
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 54101 82904
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.
In addition to the settlement, three round cairns survive within this monument. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south western Britain. The enclosed stone hut circle settlement, three round cairns and a length of reave 650m WSW of Ger Tor survive well within an area containing a number of broadly contemporary settlements, field systems and funerary monuments. The settlement contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the chronological development of the monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. As such, it provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the west side of the Moor. The earthwork evidence indicates that at least some of the settlement remains buried beneath peat which will have provided a valuable protective covering.
This monument includes two enclosures, seven stone hut circles, a length of
reave and three round cairns situated on the south west facing slope of Nattor
Down overlooking the valley of the Willsworthy Brook. The western enclosure
is defined by a 1.8m wide and 0.5m high rubble wall on three sides, whilst its
western side survives either as a buried feature or was never completed. The
minimum dimensions of the area enclosed are 230m north to south by 130m east
to west. A round cairn lies in the centre of this enclosure. The eastern
enclosure lies adjacent to the first and is defined by a rubble wall similar
in both character and dimensions. This enclosure measures 200m east to west
by 115m north to south and has an entrance through the western wall. Two short
lengths of boundary wall leading off from the northern side of the enclosure
may represent the much truncated remains of a further enclosure or associated
field system. Four stone hut circles are attached to the enclosure boundary
wall and two further examples lie within the interior along with a round
The stone hut circles are composed of circular stone and earth banks
surrounding an internal area. All of the huts are circular in plan, and their
internal diameters vary between 3.2m and 7m. The height of the surrounding
walls varies between 0.3m and 0.7m, with the average being 0.54m. One hut
possesses a visible doorway and four are attached or linked to enclosure
The three round cairns include circular mounds of stone and earth. The
northern cairn mound measures 4m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. A
slight hollow in the centre of the mound suggests robbing or partial early
excavation. The western cairn lies in the centre of an enclosure, measures
9.5m north west to south east by 6m north east to south west and stands up to
0.9m high. This cairn has seen limited damage as a result of a post-medieval
leat being cut through the eastern part of the mound. The southern cairn lies
outside the enclosures, measures 7m in diameter and stands up to 0.4m high.
Towards the western side of the mound, two slabs of stone set on edge,
represent a cist. The side stone measures 1.2m long, 0.4m deep and 0.23m
thick and the edge stone measures 0.5m long, 0.5m deep and 0.2m thick. The
other sides are no longer visible and may have been removed when this cairn
was robbed or partly excavated.
The length of reave lies to the south of the enclosures and includes a 2m wide
and 0.7m high rubble wall, which is double-faced in places. A 330m length of
this boundary survives above ground level and it appears to be broadly
contemporary with the nearby enclosures, to which it is attached by a stony
lynchet measuring 25m long, 6m wide and 2m high.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99-100
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW34,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW35,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW36,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW37,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX58SW18A,
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