Eight stone hut circles and a shieling forming part of the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011561

Date first listed: 12-Aug-1993

Map

Ordnance survey map of Eight stone hut circles and a shieling forming part of the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56417 83428

Summary

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.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke is one of the largest on Dartmoor and, despite partial excavation, 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 eight stone hut circles and a shieling situated immediately next to an area of clitter on a south facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Tavy and forming part of the large unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke. Of the eight hut circles, two are attached to boundary walls. Six of the huts are circular in plan and the internal diameters of these vary from 2.3m to 4.3m. Two huts are oval in plan; these vary in length between 3.5m and 7.4m and in width from 2m to 3m. The average height of all the walls is 0.76m. Excavations by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in June 1905 revealed that seven of the huts contain hearths. The shieling is a rectangular one-roomed structure with coursed stone walls. This is later in date than the hut circles, probably dating to the medieval period. The interior of the structure measures 7.4m long by 3m wide and has 1.7m wide walls standing up to 1m high. Excavations revealed a fire-place in the south-west corner. This monument forms part of one of the largest unenclosed stone hut circle settlements on Dartmoor.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 20356

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, (1906), 109
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, (1906), 108
Other
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Schofield, AJ, Single Monument Class Description - Shielings, (1989)

End of official listing