Two enclosures and a length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave 800m WSW of Eylesbarrow

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013474

Date first listed: 20-Feb-1992

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two enclosures and a length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave 800m WSW of Eylesbarrow
© 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: Sheepstor

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 59176 68396

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.

In addition to the two enclosed settlements, the monument includes a length of watershed reave. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (about 2000-700BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher Moor and defining the watersheds of the adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The two enclosures and length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave 800m WSW of Eylesbarrow survive comparatively well, are broadly contemporary and together with other nearby settlement sites and ceremonial monuments provide an important insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the west side of the Moor.

History

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

Details

This monument includes two enclosures containing stone hut circles, a length of reave, a field boundary and a short length of leat situated on a west- facing slope of Eylesbarrow overlooking the valley of the Narrator Brook. The southern enclosure survives as a `D'-shaped area, attached to the Eylesbarrow watershed reave. It measures 65m east to west by 55m north to south and is defined by a 1m wide boulder wall standing up to 0.7m high. Slight lynchets and rough alignments of stones within the enclosure may represent internal divisions. Two stone hut circles lie within the enclosure and these are composed of stone and earth banks surrounding internal areas. Both huts are circular in plan, their internal diameters measure 4m and the surrounding walls are 0.6m and 0.7m high. The Eylesbarrow watershed reave can be traced from Cadworthy Wood to Eylesbarrow, a distance of some 7.5km, separating the watershed of the River Plym from that of the River Meavy. This part of the reave runs up the south western slope of Eylesbarrow for 340m, from stream workings south of Combshead Tor to a gap in the reave. The reave consists of a bank of earth and stone up to 3m in width and 0.5m in height. The northern enclosure is linked to the Eylesbarrow reave by a sinuous 170m long, 2.7m wide and 0.8m high lynchetted rubble boundary bank. The enclosure is irregular in shape, measures 142m north to south by 112m east to west and is defined by a 2m wide and 0.7m high rubble wall. Five stone hut circles lie within the enclosure and all are circular apart from one double hut circle which has an oval room. The internal diameters of the circular huts vary between 3.6m and 5.2m with the average being 4.36m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.5m and 0.7m, with the average being 0.68m. One hut includes two rooms, four huts possess visible doorways and one is attached to the enclosure boundary. A short length of leat cuts through the central part of the enclosure and although now dry it would have originally carried water from the upper reaches of the Narrator Brook to tinworks immediately south of the monument. The length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave lying east of this monument is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM10741).

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: 10742

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988), 54
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE278, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE488, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE76, (1985)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP Fieldwork by S Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX56NE160,
Title: Survey of the Upper Plym Valley Source Date: 1985 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Sheet 30a

End of official listing