Two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north east of Beardown Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021177

Date first listed: 22-Dec-2003

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north east of Beardown Farm
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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 60855 76145, SX 60883 75927, SX 60889 76281, SX 61008 76422

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 two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north east of Beardown Farm survive comparatively well. These settlements lie close to one of the largest prehistoric settlements on Dartmoor and thus provide a marked contrast to their neighbour. Much of the monument is covered in dense peat deposits which will contain environmental information and provide a protective cover for the archaeological remains.

History

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

Details

The monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, includes two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems lying on an east facing slope of Beardown Hill overlooking the valley of the West Dart River. The northern prehistoric settlement includes a cluster of at least five stone hut circles. The stone hut circles survive as circular banks surrounding an internal area which varies between 2.4m and 5.2m in diameter. The height of the surrounding walls vary between 0.3m and 0.6m and four of the huts have visible doorways. The southern settlement includes at least eight stone hut circles together with several lengths of enclosure walling. The internal diameter of these stone hut circles varies between 3m and 4.3m and the surrounding walls are up to 0.7m high. Four of the huts have visible doorways and one has a drainage ditch around its upper circuit. The field systems are situated between the two settlements and are defined by a series of sinuous low rubble banks standing 1.4m wide and up to 0.4m high. The northern field system includes at least five fields, whilst the southern one is much smaller and includes two fields.

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: 34474

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
NMR English Heritage, SX67NW60, (2002)
NMR English Heritage, SX67NW61, (2002)

End of official listing