Prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016921

Date first listed: 16-Mar-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Altarnun

National Grid Reference: SX 16671 75573, SX 16741 75679, SX 16831 75619


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

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill survives reasonably well. Despite the relatively recent attention from stone robbers, the character of this settlement and the form of its contained hut circles remain clear, while the visible integrity of the hut circles' levelled interiors demonstrates the lack of disturbance to their sub-surface structural features and occupation deposits. As one of the few and distinctive prehistoric settlements near the centre of the moor, this hut circle settlement is of particular importance in understanding the nature and organisation of prehistoric land use both in its remote upland vicinity and across the moor as a whole.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric hut circle settlement situated over the southern half of Stanning Hill, a low hill rising from the central watershed of Bodmin Moor. The monument is divided into three areas of protection. The settlement extends across the top and gentle south westerly slope of the shallow-domed hill. Within the settlement, a central group of five hut circles is closely spaced over 85m as a WNW-ESE row on the upper slope. The settlement's other hut circles are more widely scattered across the slope, to both north east and south of the central row and up to 130m from it. Within the settlement, the hut circles survive with circular internal areas levelled into the hillslope. Nine are in the range 3.5m to 5.5m in internal diameter but the largest, to the south west of the central row, is 9.5m in diameter internally. The hut circle interiors are defined by walling visible variously as low rubble banks, to 1m wide and 0.2m high, or as a line of spaced slabs, often edge-set and in the range 0.3m-0.5m high. The low height and several breaks visible in the hut circle walling are attributable to some relatively recent stone robbing. Related disturbance close to the modern farm and enclosure walls on the east of the hill is considered to account for the flattening along one side of the settlement's south eastern hut circle and for the loss of at least one further hut circle formerly recorded beyond the north east limit of this scheduling. The hut circle settlement is one of a very small number of prehistoric settlements in the remote central area of Bodmin Moor. These settlements, on the more favourable southerly aspects of some of the central moor's hills, are visible as close groupings of hut circles, some with short connecting walls and limited areas of enclosures, others lacking any evident enclosures or field system as is the case in this scheduling. Other such settlements occur beyond this scheduling from 1.25km to the south west on Brockaburrow Common and from 2.3km to the SSW on Blacktor Downs. As a settlement type, they are viewed as habitations of prehistoric herdsmen and form a marked contrast with the more extensive prehistoric settlements and associated field systems which survive around the periphery of Bodmin Moor.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 15543

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, (1994)
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, (1994)
Carter, A/RCHME, Bodmin Moor Survey; 1:2500 air photo plot, SX 1675, (1984)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 3149 & 3149.01-.09, (1997)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map: SX 17 NE Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing