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An enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and a round cairn on Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: An enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and a round cairn on Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake

List entry Number: 1008712

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Peter Tavy

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Dec-1994

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22249

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes 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 boundary bank forming part of a large enclosure, thirteen stone hut circles survive within this monument. 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 roofs 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. A round cairn situated immediately next to the enclosure boundary wall is also included 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 enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and round cairn on Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake survive well within an area containing a number of broadly contemporary settlements, field systems and funerary monuments. The site 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 and, as such, 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 monument remains buried beneath peat which will have provided a valuable protective covering.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

This monument includes an enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and a round cairn situated on the west facing slope of Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake overlooking the valley of the Willsworthy Brook. The enclosure boundary includes a 1150m long, 2.5m wide and 0.5m high rubble bank, with a 55m wide entrance gap midway along its length. The enclosure, of which only the northern boundary bank forms part of this monument, has minimum dimensions of 730m east to west by 770m north to south. The size and shape of the entrance suggests that this enclosure was constructed to hold livestock driven from the higher moorland and its size reflects the need for substantial grazing. A smaller enclosure containing seven stone hut circles is attached to the outer face of the boundary wall at SX54078354. This enclosure is defined by a boundary bank on three sides, with no earthworks surviving to indicate the position of the western side of the enclosure, though this may survive as a buried feature beneath peat deposits. The area enclosed by the surviving banks measures 60m north to south by a minimum of 60m east to west. The seven stone hut circles lying within this enclosure are composed of circular stone and earth banks surrounding an internal area and they are all terraced into the hillslope. The internal diameters of these huts varies between 2m and 4.4m with the average being 3.68m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 0.5m with the average being 0.36m. A further stone hut circle is attached to the inner face of the long enclosure boundary wall at SX54248345. The interior of this hut is oval in shape, measures 3m long by 2m wide and is defined by a 0.9m wide coursed wall standing up to 0.3m high. Another hut lies within the entrance to the large enclosure. This structure is composed of a drystone coursed wall measuring 1m wide and 0.9m high surrounding a 5.5m diameter internal area. The visible walls are clearly of post-medieval date and probably represent a sheep-fold constructed on the site of an earlier stone hut circle. Archaeological deposits and features associated with the hut survive below the ground surface within the visible structure. Four further huts lie within the large enclosure in close proximity to the long boundary wall. These are composed of stone and earth banks surrounding an internal area and are terraced into the hillslope. Three of the huts are circular in shape and the internal diameters of these huts vary between 4.2m and 5m. The remaining hut is oval in shape and its interior measures 2.8m long by 2m wide. The height of all the walls varies between 0.2m and 0.6m. The round cairn measures 8m in diameter and 0.8m in height; it lies outside the large enclosure and 2m from the long boundary bank which deviates from its alignment to circumvent the mound. This relationship indicates that the cairn is earlier than the large enclosure of which this boundary bank forms part.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW034,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW28,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

National Grid Reference: SX 54142 83510

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2017 at 01:43:48.

End of official listing