Stone hut circle with incorporating prehistoric regular aggregate field system 810m SSE of Carkeet Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011326

Date first listed: 11-Nov-1993


Ordnance survey map of Stone hut circle with incorporating prehistoric regular aggregate field system 810m SSE of Carkeet Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Cleer

National Grid Reference: SX 22181 72489


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 and field boundaries are a major feature of the Moor landscape. Regular aggregate field systems are one such method of field layout known to have been employed in south-west England during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). 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 block may differ slightly in the orientation of the axes used in its layout. Regular aggregate field systems 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. The stone hut circle in this monument on the Carkeet Downs has survived well, displaying clearly its architectural details. The surviving walling of the prehistoric field system, despite being truncated downslope by modern pasture improvement, demonstrates the manner and successive stages of its layout and provides important evidence for the broadly contemporary physical and economic context within which the hut circle operated. The nearby prehistoric irregular aggregate field system places this monument in its wider context of prehistoric land allotment, demonstrating well the nature of farming practices among prehistoric communities. The proximity of the monument to the cairn group about the summit of the Carkeet Downs shows well the wider relationship between settlement, farming and ritual activity during the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a stone hut circle incorporated within a broadly contemporary regular aggregate field system on the upper western slope of the Carkeet Downs bordering the River Fowey valley on south-east Bodmin Moor. A medieval ditched field bank re-uses part of the field system walling and crosses its northern sector. The hut circle survives with a circular wall of heaped rubble and small boulders, up to 1.6m wide and 0.7m high, defining an internal area 5.8m in diameter, levelled into the hillslope. The wall has edge-set inner and outer facing slabs, ranging from 0.1m to 0.6m high, forming contiguous rows over the eastern and northern sectors of the hut circle. This hut circle is incorporated within a broadly contemporary prehistoric regular aggregate field system whose former extent downslope of the monument has been destroyed by modern pasture improvement. The plots of the field system are defined by walls of heaped rubble and small boulders, up to 1.75m wide and 0.4m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs and boulders up to 0.7m high. Where the walling runs along the contour, its upper side is masked by an accumulation of soil resulting from the combined effects of cultivation and gravity on the hillside, a process called lynchetting. The surviving area of the field system encompasses a sub-rectangular area of 0.83 ha, measuring up to 118m NNW-SSE by 90m WSW-ENE. Two adjoining prehistoric field plots occupy 0.3 ha in the south-west of that area, their side walls running upslope to meet a common boundary running along the contour. The hut circle is located within the northern of these plots, incorporated into the wall of its north-east corner. The remainder of the field system is defined by another prehistoric wall running roughly parallel to these plots' eastern and northern outer walls and 23m-40m beyond them, considered to reflect a later expansion up and along the slope from the core area of the adjoining plots. Further prehistoric walling links the field system's outermost wall with the two core plots at the south-west and northern corners of the field system. Medieval enclosure of this periphery of the Carkeet Downs resulted in the re-use of the southern 75m of the eastern prehistoric field wall for the line of a field bank, visible as an earth and rubble bank, up to 2m wide and 0.6m high, accompanied by a ditch, 2m wide and 0.2m deep, along its eastern side. The bank is surmounted by a quantity of recently dumped boulders resulting from stone-clearance and drainage on the pasture to the east. The medieval bank and ditch extend south beyond the monument to join another similar field bank. At its northern end, the medieval field boundary leaves the prehistoric wall-line to turn west, downslope, passing through the northern sector of the prehistoric field system; the bank has recently been levelled over the eastern 55m of this section but re-appears, up to 0.4m high, over its western 25m before meeting a modern hedgebank. Beyond this monument, from 35m further north along the hillside, is a broadly contemporary irregular aggregate field system incorporating a stone hut circle settlement, while a group of three broadly contemporary funerary cairns is located on the broad summit of the Carkeet Downs, from 248m to the north-east. The surface of the modern farm track and the modern heap of dumped boulders are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 15254

Legacy System: RSM


consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2272,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2272,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257.01,

End of official listing