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Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, a contemporary field system, post-medieval buildings and two lengths of leat 310m south east of Yealm Steps

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, a contemporary field system, post-medieval buildings and two lengths of leat 310m south east of Yealm Steps

List entry Number: 1015429

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Cornwood

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Apr-1997

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24100

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 prehistoric settlement there is an associated field system and cairn. The field system is fragmentary in character and it is therefore not possible to determine its precise character or extent. Deep peat deposits within this area have obscured much of the detail of the individual plots, though this material will have also provided a protective covering as well as containing environmental information relating to the field system. The cairn should probably be seen as forming part of this field system and is probably not of funerary origin. The two post-medieval buildings, together with the leats provide evidence for continued exploitation of the moor. The prehistoric stone hut circle settlement 310m south east of Yealm Steps survives comparatively well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. As such, it provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the south side of the Moor. The multi- phase character of the settlement will provide information concerning the changing domestic and agricultural requirements of an upland Bronze Age society.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a large prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, three enclosures, a contemporary field system, two post-medieval buildings and two lengths of leat, lying on a south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Yealm. The prehistoric settlement includes an agglomerate enclosure containing 25 stone hut circles, a small oval enclosure containing 2 huts and a scatter of 16 huts situated within a field system. The agglomerate enclosure survives as two sub-circular parts lying across the slope and covers an area of 1.9ha. The western enclosure is the earliest. This covers 0.7ha and is defined by a 3m wide and 0.6m high rubble wall. A clearly defined entrance into this enclosure survives in the south west circuit, but other gaps in the north and south east may be of more recent origin. At least five stone hut circles lie within this enclosure. A gap in the eastern circuit wall of the enclosure leads into the second, later and larger enclosure. This enclosure covers 1.2ha and is defined by a 2.5m wide and 1m high rubble wall. Nineteen stone hut circles lie within this enclosure, one is attached to the southern outer face and another lies either side of the boundary between the two enclosures. This last hut appears to underlie the enclosure boundary and this would suggest that some of the huts may have been constructed before the enclosure. The stone hut circles within the agglomerate enclosure survive as banks of stone and earth surrounding oval or circular internal areas. Twenty-three of the huts are circular in shape and their internal diameters vary between 2m and 6.6m with the average being 4.33m. Two huts are oval, and their interiors measure 5.7m long by 3.7m wide and 4.5m long by 3.2m wide respectively. The height of all the surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 0.9m with the average being 0.64m. Seventeen of the huts have visible doorways, four are attached to the enclosure boundary, two include more than a single room, two possess annexes, one has a porch, one is attached to an internal boundary bank and two are cut by later leats. The stone hut circle attached to the southern outer face of the enclosure measures 5.3m in diameter and the surrounding wall is 3m wide and 0.7m high. This hut has seen limited damage as a result of a leat being cut through it during the post-medieval period. In the area south of the agglomerate enclosure are 16 huts and a cairn lying within a field system. The field system survives as a large number of partly lyncheted disjointed rubble banks many of which are either connected to huts or surround them. Fifteen of the huts are circular in shape and their internal diameters vary between 3.9m and 8m with the average being 5.25m. The interior of the oval hut measures 3.3m long by 2.5m wide. The height of all the surrounding walls varies between 0.3m and 1m with the average being 0.67m. Thirteen of the huts have visible doorways, five are attached to field boundaries and one has a forecourt. The cairn mound measures 5m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. Given the proximity of this mound to nearby huts it seems most likely to have been associated with the field clearance linked to the field system within this area. The final enclosure lies south of the field system and includes an oval shaped area measuring 60m long by 30m wide defined by a 1.5m wide and 0.5m high rubble bank on three sides and by the steep scarp down to the Ranny Brook on the south eastern edge. This enclosure contains two stone hut circles. The interior of the southern hut measures 4.5m in diameter and is defined by a 2m wide wall standing up to 0.7m high. The doorway survives as a gap in the surrounding wall, is partly blocked and faces south. The northern hut is attached to the enclosure boundary, measures 4.7m in diameter and is surrounded by a 2.5m wide and 0.75m high wall. An annex attached to the eastern wall of the hut measures 4.7m long by 3m wide. Two post-medieval buildings survive within this monument and both are attached to the agglomerate enclosure boundary. The first is a cache, or small storage building, and includes a coursed drystone structure with an interior measuring 1.6m square, defined by a 0.9m wide and 0.8m high wall. The purpose of this cache is uncertain, though it may have been constructed and used by the builders of the nearby leats. The second building is a shelter of drystone construction and rectangular shape. The interior measures 2.5m long by 1.8m wide and is defined by a 1.2m wide and 0.9m high wall. This building is probably a shelter constructed by shepherds, who perhaps reused the prehistoric enclosure as an animal pound. Two leats cut through the agglomerate enclosure and some of the huts. The upper of these leats survives largely as a buried feature and is most clearly visible where it cuts through the agglomerate enclosure and two stone hut circles. Where it survives as a slight earthwork, the channel measures 0.5m wide and 0.1m deep and the associated material upcast during the construction survives as an indistinct bank up to 0.1m high. The second leat survives as a linear hollow measuring 1.5m wide and 0.2m deep and the associated bank is 1.7m wide and 0.3m high. Both leats were probably cut to carry water from the River Yealm to a tin streamwork situated 270m east of the settlement. Further stone hut circles lying to the north and east of this monument are the subject of separate schedulings.

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.

Selected Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW211,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW212,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW254,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW255,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW256,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW257,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW258,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW259,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW261,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW262,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66SW32,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX66SW30,

National Grid Reference: SX 62020 63479

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 09:46:48.

End of official listing