Prehistoric irregular and regular aggregate field systems with incorporated stone hut circles 750m ENE of Siblyback Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 11:07:07.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- St. Cleer
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 24205 72850
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 and field boundaries are a major feature of the Moor landscape. Irregular and regular aggregate field systems are two such methods of field layout known to have been employed in south-west England during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). 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 bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. 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. A single regular aggregate field system may contain several contiguous blocks of such plots and each of such blocks may differ slightly in the orientation of the axes used in its layout. Where irregular and regular aggregate field systems abut or overlap, the boundaries of one field system may influence the layout of the other. Both forms of field system often incorporate or are situated near stone hut circles, the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly also dating from the Bronze Age. The stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved as visible features. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Prehistoric field systems and hut circles are important elements of the existing landscape and provide evidence on the nature and organisation of farming practices and settlement among prehistoric communities. The relatively unintensive post-medieval land use of upland areas which has allowed the preservation of much of the surviving prehistoric settlement and funerary evidence, has also favoured the survival of a diversity of medieval monuments which often impinge on those earlier, prehistoric, remains. Such medieval monuments frequently include various forms of field boundary and cultivation ridging. This monument on north-west Craddock Moor has survived well. The monument's inclusion of successive phases and types of prehistoric field system demonstrates well the development of farming practices and social organisation during the Bronze Age, while the proximity of the monument to other broadly contemporary field systems gives a rare opportunity to observe this sequence across a wider geographical area. The proximity of the monument to the major concentration of Bronze Age ceremonial and funerary monuments on Craddock Moor shows well the nature of land use and the wider relationship to settlement and ritual activity among Bronze Age communities.
The monument includes a prehistoric irregular aggregate field system with
incorporated and adjacent parts of an earlier regular aggregate field system
and five incorporated hut circles. The monument is situated at the north-west
edge of Craddock Moor on south-east Bodmin Moor. The monument also includes
traces of medieval cultivation ridges overlying parts of the prehistoric field
systems and part of two medieval ditched boundary banks, at least one of which
re-uses a wall of the prehistoric regular field system.
The irregular and regular aggregate field systems each survive with field plot
walls of heaped rubble and boulders, up to 2m wide and 0.7m high, but
generally 1.25m wide and 0.5m high. The walling incorporates occasional
end-set slabs, called orthostats. Where the walling runs across the slope, its
upper side is partly masked by a build-up of soil, called a lynchet, resulting
from a combination of natural soil creep and prehistoric cultivation on the
The irregular aggregate field system is visible as a discrete collection of at
least thirteen small field plots ranging from 0.08 ha to 0.6 ha in extent,
combining to form subdivisions of an overall `heart-shaped' plan covering
3.25 ha. This compact plan is extended to the north-east by a larger
sub-rectangular plot of 1.08 ha with a sub-triangular plot of 0.25 ha to its
south. The perimeter wall delimiting the irregular system is largely a curving
rubble wall, but many of its internal subdividing walls in the central and
eastern sectors are straight. These straight walls display a dominant SE-NW
axis, running directly downslope and meeting a small block of plots with east-
west walls in the north-west sector as the angle of the slope changes.
Although the irregular field system also contains some curving internal walls,
especially in the northern sector, the regularity of most internal walls
derives from the clear re-use of walling from an earlier regular aggregate
field system on which the heart-shaped perimeter wall of the irregular system
was later imposed. This sequence can also be confirmed by the survival of at
least eight further walls sharing those dominant downslope axes in an area
extending up to 125m west and 50m north of the irregular system's western and
north-western boundaries. Where these walls approach the irregular system's
outer boundary they have been robbed of stone in prehistory to construct that
Sufficient survives of the regular aggregate system's walls to show its layout
as two contiguous blocks of field plots, each defined by an uphill terminal
wall from which plot walls extend downslope at intervals ranging from 25m to
90m apart. Although the resulting strips are subdivided by several cross-walls
into field plots, these subdivisions all occur within the area of the
irregular field system and are considered to derive from that later phase. One
regular field system block, with three strips on an east-west axis and a
terminal boundary at about the 280m contour level, is located in the centre of
the western sector of the monument. The other, larger, regular block extends
up to 105m south, 45m north and 200m east, uphill, from the former block, and
with a terminal boundary at the 295m-300m contour level and at least eight
strips on a SE-NW axis, changing to east-west in its northern sector as the
angle of slope changes. Consequently it is clear that the terminal boundary of
this larger regular block was re-used as the south-east perimeter wall of the
later irregular field system, while the boundaries of the large sub-
rectangular plot extending north-east from the irregular field system are
almost entirely re-used from the regular system.
The monument contains five stone hut circles. Four are situated at wall
intersections or adjacent to walls within the area of the irregular field
system. The fifth is situated within the southern strip of the regular field
system's smaller block, 20m west of the irregular system's western boundary.
The hut circles survive with near-circular walls of heaped rubble and
boulders, up to 2m wide and 0.6m high, defining internal areas ranging from
4.3m in diameter to a slightly ovoid 9.2m by 8.2m area. The hut circle walls
contain end-set inner facing slabs, up to 0.9m high and often contiguous, and
the largest hut circle also has outer facing slabs. An entrance gap, 1m wide,
is visible in the west side of the largest hut circle's wall. A break 3m wide
in the west side of the westernmost hut circle, in the regular field system
block, has been occasioned by partial clearance for medieval cultivation.
Much later farming activity is evident in the monument's western and northern
sectors where the prehistoric field systems are overlain by the upper levels
of medieval cultivation ridges which occur along much of the periphery of
Craddock Moor. The cultivation ridges are visible as contiguous, parallel,
earthen ridges, averaging 1.75-2m crest to crest, 0.1m high, and generally
orientated downslope. They are present over extensive areas, lacking any clear
contemporary boundary to their edges but they have tended to re-use, rather
than clear, prehistoric field walls within their area. Consequently the
ridging often forms into small blocks defined by the prehistoric plots, with a
ridge-axis governed partly by the dominant axis of the plot walls, as is
especially clear in the north of the monument.
Later medieval farming enclosed blocks along the edge of the Moor by ditched
earthen boundary banks, two of which occur within the monument. One is visible
as an earthen bank 1m wide and up to 0.3m high, with a ditch 1m wide and up
to 0.1m deep along its northern side, and re-uses the east-west northern
wall-line of the large prehistoric plot in the north-east of the irregular
field system, continuing further west on the alignment of the regular system's
dominant axis in this sector. The other medieval boundary bank appears to have
been maintained until relatively recently and runs through the monument's
south-west sector, cutting across the prehistoric walls and the cultivation
ridges. This survives as an earth and rubble bank up to 1.8m wide and 0.9m
high with a ditch 1m wide and 0.3m deep along its east side.
Beyond the monument, to both north and south, are further extensive
prehistoric settlement sites and field systems on the periphery of Craddock
Moor, some of which display similar sequences of development. Beyond these, to
the south and south-east near the centre of Craddock Moor, is one of the
largest concentrations of broadly contemporary ritual and funerary monuments
on Bodmin Moor.
All post-and-wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.
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:
consulted 1992, Carter, A./Fletcher, M. J. RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2472,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots and field traces for SX 2472-3,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289.01,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289.02,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289.03,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289.04,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1289.05,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1362,
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