Prehistoric settlement and irregular aggregate field system 340m south west of Laughter Hole Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021045

Date first listed: 13-May-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-2003

Map

Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric settlement and irregular aggregate field system 340m south west of Laughter Hole Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 65544 75608

Summary

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.

The prehistoric settlement and irregular aggregate field system 340m south west of Laughter Hole Farm survive comparatively well. Information concerning the use of this area through the prehistoric and historic periods is known to survive. A number of similar settlements and field systems survive on this part of Dartmoor and together they form an important insight into the character of settlement and land use on the fringes of the more substantial coaxial field systems.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric settlement and an irregular aggregate field system lying on the upper south east facing slope of Laughter Tor, overlooking the valley of the East Dart River. The prehistoric settlement survives wholly within the irregular aggregate field system and includes at least five stone hut circles. The stone hut circles survive as circular banks surrounding an internal area which varies from 8 sq m to 23 sq m, with the average being 14 sq m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.4m and 0.7m, with the average being 0.52m. Two of the huts have visible doorways, two are conjoined and three are attached to field boundary banks. The irregular aggregate field system is defined by a series of sinuous low rubble banks, some of which are lynchetted and which together form at least 11 fields, which have been added over a period of time.

Field systems of a later date partly overlie the monument. The medieval fields are denoted by a series of banks and ditches, whilst a post-medieval coursed drystone wall leads across the monument from north east to south west.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 34457

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 46-47

End of official listing