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Prehistoric irregular and regular aggregate field systems, enclosure, stone hut circles, cairnfield and kerbed boulder 750m ESE of Siblyback Farm

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: Prehistoric irregular and regular aggregate field systems, enclosure, stone hut circles, cairnfield and kerbed boulder 750m ESE of Siblyback Farm

List entry Number: 1010060

Location

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

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Cleer

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 03-Jul-1992

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Nov-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 15083

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time.

Elaborate complexes of fields, field boundaries and enclosures are a major feature of the Moor landscape. Several methods of field layout are known to have been employed in south west England from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000 BC-400 AD). These include both irregular and regular aggregate field systems. Irregular aggregate field systems comprise a collection of field plots, generally lacking in conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and sizes. By contrast, regular aggregate field systems comprise a collection of field plots defined by boundaries laid out in a consistent manner, along two axes set at right angles to each other. Enclosures are discrete plots of land constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop-growing. Both types of field system and enclosures are bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They frequently contain small heaps of stone cleared from the surface before or during the plots' use, called clearance cairns, which may form dense concentrations called cairnfields. The field systems and enclosures are often located around or near settlement sites and they sometimes incorporate or occur near ceremonial or funerary monuments. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Each of these types of monument forms an important element of the existing landscape and is representative of its period. Their longevity of use and their relationships with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of farming practices and social organisation among prehistoric communities. This monument on Craddock Moor survives well; its hut circles and field walls display an unusual range of original features and have been surveyed but not excavated. The kerbed boulder in the monument has survived undisturbed and is one of only two examples of this rare monument class known on Bodmin Moor. The monument's inclusion of two successive phases of prehistoric field system and its proximity to a major concentration of broadly contemporary ceremonial and funerary monuments demonstrate well the organisation and development of land use during the prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes three prehistoric irregular aggregate field systems with a large prehistoric enclosure at their central meeting point. The field systems and enclosure have stone hut circles incorporated, and adjacent; and one field system has an adjacent kerbed boulder. The field systems overlie fragments of an earlier regular aggregate field system incorporating stone hut circles and a cairnfield. The monument is situated on a west facing slope close to a large group of broadly contemporary funerary and ceremonial monuments at the north west edge of Craddock Moor on south east Bodmin Moor. The irregular aggregate field systems comprise discrete collections of field plots, each up to 0.6ha and varying considerably in shape and size. They survive with curving rubble walls, up to 2m wide and 1m high. The three such field systems in this monument are situated to the east, south and north west of a pentagonal prehistoric enclosure. The eastern field system comprises over 20 fields, of 0.15ha-0.4ha each. The compact ovoid pattern of fields displays development in at least four successive stages from the fields in its north west corner. This field system's walls also contain many edge-and end-set boulders, called orthostats, forming continuous rows in some parts and flanking short gaps, c.1m wide, marking entrances between many fields. The uphill sides of most field walls are partly buried beneath soil deposits brought down the hillslope by cultivation, a process called lynchetting. The two fields at the north east edge of the field system are separated by a short straight trackway flanked by walls 8m apart; where the trackway meets the edge of the field system, an entrance is formed by two edge-set slabs, 1.25m long and 2m apart, placed across the line of the field wall. Small turf-covered mounds of stone, called clearance cairns, are situated at several points on the field walls. Eight stone hut circles are built into this field system's walls; a ninth is centred 10m beyond its south east corner. All are levelled into the hillslope and survive with rubble walls up to 2m wide and 0.75m high, enclosing internal areas ranging from 3m to 9.5m in diameter. All except the two smallest hut circles have both internal and external facing slabs in their walling, and two show areas of floor cobbling. Four have entrances facing between south east and south west, three of these flanked by orthostats. Two hut circles in the field system's southern edge have been partitioned internally by medieval walling, probably forming herdsmen's shelters. A ground-fast boulder, 5m by 2.5m and centred 3.5m beyond the system's north corner, is encircled by a continuous row of small orthostats, forming a prehistoric ceremonial monument. The southern irregular field system comprises three surviving fields of 0.25ha-0.6ha with traces of a fourth to their west, forming a subrectangular block, with lynchetted rubble walls. Clearance cairns are situated within the western field and 10m beyond its southern and north east walls. This field system contains five stone hut circles with rubble walls up to 1.7m wide and 0.5m high, around levelled internal areas 5m-7.5m in diameter. Inner facing slabs are visible in the northernmost hut circle; the others are largely turf-covered. A further five hut circles are situated 20m-110m west of this field system's surviving boundaries, in an area partly cleared by recent stone-robbing along the moor-edge, but considered to have formerly been encompassed by the same irregular field system. These hut circles are of similar construction, with rubble walls up to 1.7m wide and 0.7m high defining levelled internal areas ranging 9m-9.5m in diameter. All contain several inner facing slabs, some of which are massive, up to 1.1m high and 2m long. Three of these hut circles have adjacent rubble-walled annexes with levelled internal areas ranging in size from 3.5m by 2.5m against the east side of the south east hut circle in this group, to 12.5m by 9.75m against the southern side of the western of these hut circles. The north western irregular field system survives as two small rounded fields, of 0.06ha and 0.2ha, with the eastern parts of two more fields surviving to their west above the modern field wall. Built into their lynchetted rubble walls are three stone hut circles. These have rubble walls, visibly coursed in one case, 1.75m wide and up to 1m high, with inner facing slabs and entrances facing west to north west. Their levelled internal areas range from 5.5m to 8m in diameter. The north west and southern hut circles each have an ovoid, rubble-walled annexe measuring 4.5m by 2m internally. A small shelter, 2m in internal diameter with thick rubble walls, is centred 7m north west of the southern hut circle. The pentagonal prehistoric enclosure at the focus of the irregular field systems encompasses 0.9ha, surviving as a lynchetted rubble wall, up to 1.75m wide and 0.6m high, containing inner and outer rows of small orthostats. Two small hut circles are built against the enclosure's outer face on its north and west sides, each with a rubble wall 1.5m wide and 0.6m high with inner and outer facing slabs. The western hut circle has an internal area 5.5m in diameter, the northern is 5m in diameter but largely filled with stone cleared during a later episode. Two more hut circles of similar construction are centred 42m south west of the enclosure. They have internal diameters of 7m and 7.5m and each is encircled by a small levelled area. The north western and southern irregular field systems are each superimposed on the earlier walls of more regularly-shaped rectangular fields. This field system's walls rise in parallel, 10m-42m apart, up the hillslope, running WSW-ENE. Most end to the east on a north-south wall at about the 295m contour level, though some end on other north-south lynchetted walls subdividing the fields 85m and 145m to the west. This field system's walls survive as low rubble banks, up to 1.5m wide and 0.5m high, lynchetted where they run across the hillslope, and largely or wholly removed where they approach the walls or cross the field plots of the irregular field systems. Two blocks of this regular field system survive, north and south of the pentagonal enclosure. The northern block covers 3ha; the two rectangular fields comprising its south east hectare contain numerous small clearance cairns scattered 5m- 10m apart, forming a well-defined cairnfield. This block also contains six hut circles with rubble walls up to 2m wide and 0.75m high, enclosing levelled internal diameters of 6.5m-10m. The walls have inner and outer facing slabs and four have entrances, facing north east, south, WNW and south west. Three of the hut circles are situated on the block's lower surviving lynchets. Two of the hut circles are clustered 2m apart, each with a small ovoid annexe built against its west wall. The southern block of regular fields comprises parts of three parallel walls running up the hillslope and two north-south walls. This block lacks any hut circles certainly associated with it. The northern and eastern walls of the southern block were later reused for the course of a ditched medieval field boundary. That field contains traces of medieval ridge-and-furrow cultivation which extend further east across most of the prehistoric fields in this monument, reusing rather than disrupting the earlier boundaries.

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

Other
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.05,
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.07,
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.08,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./Fletcher, M. J. RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2472,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2372 & SX 2472,

National Grid Reference: SX 24280 72436

Map

Map
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End of official listing