Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and tinners' buildings west of Dead Lake

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5858 / 50°35'9"N

Longitude: -4.0296 / 4°1'46"W

OS Eastings: 256418.0076

OS Northings: 78200.484102

OS Grid: SX564782

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.LGRM

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FJ.CXK

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and tinners' buildings west of Dead Lake

Scheduled Date: 11 January 1965

Last Amended: 24 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007983

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22217

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes thirteen stone hut circles, forming the largest part of
an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, and four medieval or post-medieval
tinners' buildings. The monument is situated on a gentle south-facing slope
within the valley of the River Walkham and the huts are all terraced into the
hillside. Ten of the huts are circular in plan and measure between 2.6m and
4.3m in diameter. The remaining huts are oval in shape and measure between
1.7m and 3.5m long and 1.1m and 2.3m wide. The walls of all the huts are
composed of stone and earth and measure between 0.2m and 0.7m high. One of
the huts has an annexe, another has a courtyard, one has a porch and seven
have visible doorways.
The tinners' buildings are all built inside the earlier stone hut circles.
Two are rectangular in plan and are composed of rubble walls, whilst the
others are small circular structures with corbelled walls. These buildings
are associated with the nearby tin streamworks at Dead Lake.

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.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement west of Dead Lake survives
comparatively well and is the furthest upstream settlement known in the valley
of the River Walkham. The settlement contains archaeological evidence
relating to the monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in
which they lived and, as such, provides a valuable insight into the nature of
Bronze Age occupation in a more remote part of the Moor. Peat bog deposits in
the immediate vicinity of the settlement will provide a rich source of
environmental information.
The location of the settlement in close proximity to rich tin deposits means
that information concerning Prehistoric tinworking may survive. In the
historic period three of the huts were re-modelled by tinners to provide
storage and shelter accommodation and these will provide a source of
information regarding the character and organisation of the Dartmoor tin

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Greeves, T A P, The Devon Tin Industry 1450 -1750, (1981)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NE10,

Source: Historic England

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