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A stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs 720m south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor

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: A stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs 720m south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor

List entry Number: 1016147

Location

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

County: Devon

District: South Hams

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 28-Nov-1991

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jan-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24229

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 alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000 BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally important, unless very badly damaged.

Within the vicinity of this alignment is a dispersed prehistoric settlement including stone hut circles, enclosures and fields. It is known that stone alignments were usually built within previously cleared areas and it is tempting to equate some of these features with this earlier activity. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. 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. In later years the monument formed part of Trowlesworthy Warren and at this time pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs were constructed. Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. The prehistoric and historic landscape south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor contains a range of monuments which survive well and represent two of the main periods of upland exploitation. This wealth and diversity of remains gives significant insights into successive changes in the patten and nature of land use through time.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement with enclosures and clearance areas, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and three animal runs situated on a west facing slope overlooking the valley of the Blacka Brook. The stone alignment is orientated from east to west and includes a 79m long single row of at least 44 stones, with the tallest stones being present at either end. The tallest stone measures 1.2m high, although the average height is 0.32m. An encircled cairn lies at the eastern end of the alignment and this survives as a 5.75m diameter and 0.3m high mound of stones surrounded by at least 13 upright stones standing between 0.1m and 0.45m high. A hollow in the mound, measuring 3.1m long by 2m wide and 0.3m deep, suggests partial early excavation or robbing. The prehistoric settlement includes at least three stone hut circles, three enclosures, fragmentary lengths of walling and at least one distinct area of cleared ground. The stone hut circles survive as circular or oval shaped areas surrounded by a stone and earth wall and their internal areas vary between 8.4 and 50.24 sq m. Two of the enclosures are oval in shape, the remaining one is rectangular and each is defined by a rubble bank. The cleared ground survives as an irregular shaped area measuring 30m by 25m and is defined by natural undisturbed clitter. Within the cleared area is a cairn which measures 6m long by 5m wide and stands up to 0.4m high. This cairn was probably produced during the clearance of the area. Within the monument there are also a number of lengths of rubble walling which form part of a fragmentary field system which survives partly as a buried feature. This monument lies within Trowlesworthy Warren and a number of warrening features including four pillow mounds, three animal runs and a vermin trap are visible. Trowlesworthy Warren includes around 64 pillow mounds and 40 vermin traps scattered along the slopes of Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors. The boundaries of the warren are denoted by the River Plym, Spanish Lake and Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally accepted as the oldest surviving warren on Dartmoor, although recently doubt has been expressed concerning its medieval origins. It is however known that the warren existed by 1651 when it was occupied by John Hamblin, a skinner from Plymouth. The warren appears to have remained in constant use from this time until the first half of the 20th century. The pillow mounds survive as flat-topped, sub-rectangular mounds of soil and stones, surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. The mounds vary in size between 20.4m and 22m long, stand between 1m and 1.3m high, and have gulleys leading away from their lower side. Three of the mounds are linked directly to animal runs which lead to an`X'-shaped vermin trap situated next to a stream. Other archaeological features surviving within the vicinity of this monument are the subjects of separate schedulings. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Other
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

National Grid Reference: SX 57441 63912

Map

Map
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End of official listing