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

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

List entry Number: 1018689

Location

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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Hebden

National Park: YORKSHIRE DALES

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 21-Jan-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 31336

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

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.

History

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

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.

Selected Sources

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)
Other
Laurie, T, (1998)

National Grid Reference: SE 04928 65888, SE 05094 65860

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2017 at 12:57:47.

End of official listing