Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement west of Butter Brook Reservoir

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1013210
Date first listed:
09-Oct-1991

Map

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Location

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

County:
Devon
District:
South Hams (District Authority)
Parish:
Harford
National Park:
DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference:
SX 64445 59313

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 provides 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. The Butter Brook settlement is a well-preserved example of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement; the hut circles have distinctive orthostatic entrances and wall-construction. Sited to take advantage of the source of fresh water provided by Butter Brook, they provide exceptional evidence of how early farming and stock-rearing communities lived on the Moor.

Details

Low stone walls or banks enclosing a circular internal floor area form the remains of timber and turf or thatch-roofed dwellings occupied by farmers of the prehistoric period. They may occur singly or in larger groups and were sometimes built within a surrounding boundary bank or enclosure. On Dartmoor, the long tradition of building stone-based round houses can be traced back to the second millennium BC, probably from 1700 BC onwards. The settlement at west of Butter Brook is unenclosed and consists of nine hut circles on a gentle, south-facing slope above Butter Brook. The huts are from 10 m. to 13 m. in diameter with walls up to 2 m. thick and a metre high, faced with upright stones on both sides. They have entrances, usually framed by distinct orthostatic jambs, facing south-east. Some hut circles are set into the slope, and one has been damaged by the track which runs to the reservoir. A nearby group of huts lying within the reservoir plantation was largely destroyed by the construction work in 1914; these may have all formed a single group originally.

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:
10532
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
SX65NW-017. Report by Allden, plan,

Legal

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

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