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Enclosed stone hut circle settlement and three round cairns on Giant's Hill

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: Enclosed stone hut circle settlement and three round cairns on Giant's Hill

List entry Number: 1019081

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: 14-Mar-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 09-May-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24190

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.

This monument also includes three round cairns, one of which contains a cist. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials, which are often contained with a stone coffin known as a cist and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. The enclosed stone hut circle settlement and three round cairns on Giant's Hill survive comparatively well and together contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the character of this area in prehistoric times. This settlement lies on the interface between rich tin deposits and extensive areas of upland grazing and therefore information concerning the exploitation of these resources may survive.

History

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

Details

This monument includes two agglomerated enclosures and 16 stone hut circles together forming an enclosed stone hut circle settlement, three round cairns, a cist and a tin prospecting pit lying on the west facing slope of Giant's Hill overlooking the valley of the River Plym. The stone hut circle settlement includes two agglomerated enclosures connected to each other by a rubble wall. The western agglomeration is the largest, includes at least five separate enclosed areas, covers 0.43ha and contains eight stone hut circles. The northernmost enclosure is earliest and survives as a 28m long by 20m wide oval area surrounded by a 2m wide and 0.75m high rubble bank. Four stone hut circles are attached to the inner face of this enclosure boundary on its eastern side. The second enclosure was added to the southern side of the first and survives as an irregular shaped area measuring 31m long by 24m wide surrounded by a 3m wide rubble bank standing up to 1m high. An earlier stone hut circle is incorporated into the southern circuit of this enclosure. The third enclosure is attached to the western side of the second and survives as a 2m wide and 0.5m high rubble bank defining an irregular shaped area measuring 20m long by 16m wide. There are two stone hut circles associated with this enclosure. The fourth enclosure is attached to both the second and third. This enclosure is sub-rectangular in shape, measures 32m long by 26m wide and is denoted by a 2m wide and 0.6m high rubble bank. A stone hut circle is attached to the inner face of this enclosure wall on its southern circuit. The final enclosure lies south of the fourth and although this is now only visible as a 1.4m wide and 0.3m high curving bank extending 20m southward, the remaining parts probably survive as a buried feature. All eight stone hut circles lying within this agglomerated enclosure include banks of stone and earth each surrounding a circular internal area which vary in diameter between 2m and 5.5m with the average being 3.61m. The height of the surrounding wall varies between 0.3m and 0.7m with the average being 0.58m. One of the huts has a visible doorway, six are attached and two are linked to enclosure walling. The second agglomerated enclosure lies to the east and is linked to the first by a 24m long rubble bank. This enclosure includes at least two elements, with the earliest one being the northern example. This survives as a 43m long by 42m wide sub-rectangular area surrounded by a 2m wide and 0.45m high rubble bank with occasional orthostats. Two stone hut circles are attached to the inner face of this enclosure boundary on its northern side, two others are linked to the boundary by a short length of rubble bank a fifth lies in the south western corner. The second enclosure is attached to the south western corner of the first and survives as an oval area 38m long by 29m wide denoted by a 1.3m wide and 0.5m high rubble bank also with occasional orthostats. The five stone hut circles within this agglomerated enclosure are similar in character to those lying elsewhere within the settlement. The internal diameters of these huts vary between 2m and 3m with the average being 2.3m. The height of the surrounding wall varies between 0.3m and 0.6m with the average being 0.42m. In the area between the agglomerate enclosures there are a further three stone hut circles. All three are terraced into the hillslope and survive as stone and earth banks surrounding a circular internal area. The interior of the northern and southern huts measure 3m in diameter, whilst the central one is 3.5m. The surrounding walls vary in height between 0.3m and 0.7m. The three round cairns lie on the southern periphery of the stone hut circle settlement. The western mound measures 5m in diameter and stands up to 0.5m high. The northern mound lies 2.5m from the first, measures 5.3m in diameter and 0.8m high. The southern mound measures 7.5m long by 5.5m wide, stands up to 0.2m high and has in the past been excavated or robbed to reveal a cist. The cist is situated at the WSW end of the cairn, measures 1.4m long, 0.7m wide, 0.3m deep and is orientated north east to south west. Evidence of later interest in the ground underlying the settlement is provided by the survival of a tin prospecting pit. This survives as a sub-rectangular pit measuring 2.3m long by 1.2m wide and 0.4m deep with an associated crescent shaped bank standing up to 0.4m high lying immediately downslope. Pits of this type were excavated by tinners searching for tin ore. The leat earthwork and further tin prospecting pits adjacent to the monument are not included in the scheduling because they are not currently considered to be of national importance. Further archaeological features surviving within the vicinity of this monument are the subject 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 130
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE60, (1992)
Gerrard, G.A.M., The Early Cornish Tin Industry: An Arch. & Historical Survey, 1986, Unpubl. PhD thesis, St David's, Wales
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)
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 59523 66787

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 25-Nov-2017 at 07:53:24.

End of official listing