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Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system, stone hut circles and a medieval field on the south-west slope of White Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.582 / 50°34'55"N

Longitude: -4.0733 / 4°4'24"W

OS Eastings: 253307.916766

OS Northings: 77857.802599

OS Grid: SX533778

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.DPK1

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CJ.DX2

Entry Name: Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system, stone hut circles and a medieval field on the south-west slope of White Tor

Scheduled Date: 18 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007978

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22215

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

The monument includes a Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system, stone
hut circles, a medieval field, a clearance cairn and animal shelter situated
on a south-west facing slope overlooking the valley of the Colly Brook. The
irregular aggregate field system survives as stony banks averaging 0.3m high
and 1.8m wide representing over ten distinct field-plots. Some of the
original walling material has been robbed to construct the later rectangular
field. A platform situated towards the southern edge of the field system
represents the site of a stone hut circle. A second stone hut circle lies
outside the now visible extent of the field system but may originally have
been within it. This building is terraced into the hillslope, has an internal
diameter of 8.8m and is defined by a 1.7m wide wall standing up to 0.3m high.
The large, clearly defined rectangular field is superimposed upon the eastern
part of the earlier irregular aggregate field system. The field measures 190m
east to west by 100m north to south and is defined by a flat-topped bank 2m
wide and standing up to 0.4m high. Lying within the field are two lengths of
boundary bank associated with the earlier field system, a clearance cairn
measuring 2.5m in diameter and 0.35m high, a stone hut circle and a small
animal shelter. This field is of medieval or post-medieval origin and is
contemporary with the animal shelter which is constructed against the inner
face of the western boundary wall. This building is triangular in plan and
measures internally 8m long north to south by 4.2m wide east to west. The
walling is composed of a roughly faced rubble bank measuring 1.2m wide and
standing up to 0.2m high.

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.

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 and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the
moor landscape. Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods
of field layout known to have been employed in south-west England from the
Bronze Age to the Roman period (c 2000 BC - 400 AD). They comprise a
collection of field plots, generally lacking conformity of orientation and
arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and
sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They are
often located around or near ceremonial and funerary monuments and often
contain settlement evidence in the form of stone hut circles. They are an
important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming
practice over a long period. A substantial proportion of surviving examples
are considered worthy of protection.
The large rectangular field of medieval or post-medieval date and its
associated shelter provide valuable archaeological information relating to the
re-use of this part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NW88,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW71,

Source: Historic England

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