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Thirty-six stone hut circles and an irregular aggregate field system forming part of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 450m north of Hart Tor

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: Thirty-six stone hut circles and an irregular aggregate field system forming part of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 450m north of Hart Tor

List entry Number: 1011174

Location

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

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 06-Jan-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Aug-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22303

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. 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 stone hut circles, the monument includes part of an irregular aggregate field system. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the Dartmoor landscape. Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have been employed in south west England from the Bronze Age to the Roman period. They comprise a collection of field plots, generally lacking conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They are often located around or near ceremonial and funerary monuments. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming practice over a long period. The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and irregular aggregate field system between Hart Tor and Devil's Bridge survives comparatively well, and as partial excavation has demonstrated, important and informative archaeological structures, features and deposits still survive. Such evidence will provide a valuable insight into the economy of the site's inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.

History

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

Details

This monument includes 36 stone hut circles dispersed within an irregular aggregate field system situated on a gentle west-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy and forming part of a large unenclosed stone hut circle settlement between Hart Tor and Devil's Bridge. The stone hut circles are composed of stone and earth banks surrounding an internal area. Of the 36 hut circles, one is oval in plan and measures 6.3m long by 3m wide. The remaining 35 huts are circular in plan and the internal diameter of these buildings varies from 2.3m to 7m. The height of all the walls varies between 0.3m and 1m, with the average being 0.58m. At least seven of the huts contain hearths, two are conjoined, 21 have visible doorways, two have porches and five are attached to boundary walls. Eighteen of the huts were partly excavated in 1895 by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. This work recovered large quantities of Bronze Age pottery, rubbing stones, flint scrapers, pot boilers and charcoal. The irregular aggregate field system survives as a series of low rubble walls standing up to 0.5m high. In the northern part of the monument three distinct field-plots are visible, whilst towards the south a few short lengths of fragmentary walling suggest that the remains of the field system are more extensive. Three 19th century granite rifle range distance markers survive within the monument. These are included within the scheduling since they provide important information concerning reuse of this area during the post-medieval period, and their removal would damage the underlying archaeological deposits. A further eight stone hut circles forming part of this extensive unenclosed stone hut circle settlement survive to the south and east of this monument. These are included in other proposals. A fragmentary field system lies to the east of the monument, but this is not included because not enough of the fields are visible to establish their character and extent.

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
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Other
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, Sx57SE20,

National Grid Reference: SX 58185 72466

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2017 at 08:29:17.

End of official listing