Unenclosed prehistoric hut circle settlement and associated field system and cremation cemetery at Blea Gill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018689

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed prehistoric hut circle settlement and associated field system and cremation cemetery at Blea Gill
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 18:35:28.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Hebden


National Grid Reference: SE 04928 65888, SE 05094 65860


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

Reasons for Designation

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

Flat cremation cemeteries are groups of cremation burials usually contained within cordoned or collared urns, set in shallow pit graves which have been dug into the sub-soil or bedrock. The grave pits were often covered only by a flat stone or low stone heap known as a cairn. Some grave pits have associated stakeholes which have been interpreted as grave-markers. The surface indications of such cemeteries are, by their nature, slight. Flat cremation cemeteries have been proved on excavation to be closely associated with Early Bronze Age settlement activity, including stone field banks, cairns and ring cairns. The unenclosed hut circle settlement and associated features at Blea Gill survive well. Significant archaeological remains will be preserved. The monument offers important scope for understanding settlement and social organisation in the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric settlement and associated field sysytem. Also included is an area containing prehistoric burials. It is located on the the north side of the steep-sided valley of Blea Gill which lies at the north west end of Grimwith Reservoir, 3.5km north east of Hebden. It is divided into two areas of protection separated by a natural gully. The settlement remains lie on the steep valley side in the area to the west, and in the area to the east the field system lies on gently sloping ground. The area of burials occupies the two natural knolls further to the east. The settlement remains occupy three gently shelving natural platforms on the valley side. On the lowest platform is a circular stone bank 13m in diameter. The stone walling for this survives to a height of 1.2m. To the west of this feature the sides of the platform have been built up with a wall which survives as a low bank. A hut circle 5.5m in diameter lies towards the west end of the platform. To the north of this platform, on a second terrace, are the remains of two hut circles and a small paddock. To the south east of this terrace, and slightly lower, is the third terrace where remains of a small enclosure bank survive. The field system lies on sloping ground with a southerly aspect. The surviving remains occupy an area of approximately 160m east to west by 110m north to south. The field system includes at least five irregular shaped enclosures delimited by spread banks of stones. The banks are up to 2.5m wide and 0.5m high. Some have small sub-circular features at their ends which are thought to be small hut circles. At least one isolated hut circle lies near to the field system east of the gully. At the east of the monument the field banks extend around and enclose two natural knolls. Both the knolls are in a prominent position overlooking the settlement to the west and the valley of the River Dibb to the east. On the summit of the northern higher knoll are remains of slight stone dump structures which are interpreted as the remains of a Bronze Age flat cremation cemetery. The cemetery is also thought to extend to the lower knoll to the south.

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


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

Legacy System number: 31336

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Denison, E, Archaeological Survey, Blea Gill, Hebden, North Yorkshire, (1996)
Denison, E, Archaeological Survey, Blea Gill, Hebden, North Yorkshire, (1996)
Laurie, T, Blea Gill - Knot End/Bracken Haw, (1997)
Laurie, T, Blea Gill - Knot End/Bracken Haw, (1997)
Laurie, T, (1998)

End of official listing