Prehistoric settlement and irregular aggregate field system 600m west of Laughter Hole Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021046

Date first listed: 13-May-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric settlement and irregular aggregate field system 600m west of Laughter Hole Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 65051 75780, SX 65249 75833, SX 65293 75767


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 600m west of Laughter Hole Farm survive well. Information concerning the use of this area through the prehistoric period is known to survive. The unusual multi-orthostatic construction of one stone hut circle deserves a special mention. A number of similar settlements and field systems survive on this part of Dartmoor and together they provide an important insight into the character of settlement and land use on the fringes of the more substantial coaxial field systems.


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


The monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a prehistoric settlement and an irregular aggregate field system lying on the upper north west facing slope of Laughter Tor. The prehistoric settlement survives partly within the irregular aggregate field system and includes at least four stone hut circles, two of which lie to the east of the field system. The stone hut circles survive as circular or oval banks surrounding an internal area which varies from 9 sq m to 39 sq m, with the average being 19 sq m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.45m and 0.8m, with the average being 0.55m. One of the huts has a visible doorway and two are butted by field boundary banks. The easternmost stone hut circle has a very unusual wall, which can best be described as multi-orthostatic. The inner and outer edges of the wall together with its core are formed by relatively small edge set slabs.

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. Two of the stone hut circles sit within the centre of this field system.

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: 34458

Legacy System: RSM


Title: Duchy Farms Survey - Brimpts Farm Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:10000 plan

End of official listing