Ancient Monuments

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Hut circles and field systems east of Mel Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Widecombe in the Moor, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5377 / 50°32'15"N

Longitude: -3.8428 / 3°50'34"W

OS Eastings: 269503.860091

OS Northings: 72502.455168

OS Grid: SX695725

Mapcode National: GBR QC.7GLF

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VM.SVY

Entry Name: Hut circles and field systems E of Mel Tor

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1970

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003301

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 758

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Leusdon St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Summary

Two stone hut circles and associated field system 160m east of Mel Tor,

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes two stone hut circles and associated fields which forms part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system situated to the east of Mel Tor. The southern stone hut circle survives as a circular terraced interior measuring up to 7.5m in diameter defined by a massively constructed double faced orthostatic wall which measures up to 1.5m wide and 1.1m high and has an entrance to the south-east. The second stone hut circle lies to the north-west and survives as a circular terraced platform measuring up to 6.5m in diameter with traces of a faint bank on the eastern side. The stone hut circles are close to the edge of a field system which forms part of the extensive Dartmeet coaxial field system and survives as small irregular shaped fields defined by rubble walls measuring up to 1m wide and 0.5m high with occasional orthostatic slabs. These join with more extensive and rectilinear field boundary banks and lynchets. The scheduling does not include all the extant remains of field boundaries in the vicinity because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. Despite being cut by a track, and being robbed of stone during the foundation of later field boundaries to the east the two stone hut circles and associated field system 160m east of Mel Tor, more especially the southern hut circle of the two survive comparatively well and enough remains of the field system to see the relationships between smaller fields directly associated with the buildings and the coaxial field system which was laid out on a far greater scale. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronology, agricultural practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context through time.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume One - The East , (1991), 118-119
Other
PastScape Monument No:-442860

Source: Historic England

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