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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and associated fields north of Standon Down

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.624 / 50°37'26"N

Longitude: -4.0507 / 4°3'2"W

OS Eastings: 255038.648947

OS Northings: 82487.526019

OS Grid: SX550824

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.B3B8

Mapcode Global: FRA 27DF.9Q0

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and associated fields north of Standon Down

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1962

Last Amended: 29 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008244

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20368

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes sixty-seven stone hut circles, one post-medieval
shelter, a shieling of medieval or post-medieval date and at least twenty
fields situated on a gentle west-facing slope overlooking the valley of the
River Tavy and forming the greater part of the large unenclosed stone hut
circle settlement north of Standon Down. Fifty-six of the stone hut circles
are attached to boundary walls. Sixty-six of the huts are circular in plan
and the internal diameters of these huts vary from 1.8m to 8.8m, with the
average being 4.19m. Only one hut is oval in plan and this measures 3.2m long
by 2m wide and has a wall standing up to 0.6m high. The average height of all
the walls is 0.73m. At least one of the huts contains a hearth, two have
porches, one has an internal partition wall and two have benches.
The field system associated with the settlement includes around twenty
irregular fields. In most cases the boundaries abut the huts suggesting that
the fields were added at some date after the settlement was established.
The post-medieval shepherd's shelter built into one of the earlier stone hut
circles is composed of drystone coursed walling and measures 1.8m long by 1.4m
wide and stands up to 0.5m high. The doorway faces south.
The shieling is situated on the southern edge of the settlement and is a
rectangular one roomed structure with coursed drystone walls and measures 6m
long by 4.4m wide and has 1.3m wide walls standing up to 0.6m high. It is
possible that material from an underlying stone hut circle was robbed to erect
this building.
During July 1901 forty-three of the stone hut circles were partially excavated
by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Considerable quantities of charcoal
were found together with cooking stones, pottery and flint artefacts.

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.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement with its associated fields to the
north of Standon Down is one of the largest Bronze Age settlements on Dartmoor
and, despite partial excavation, important and informative archaeological
structures, features and deposits still survive. The close relationship
between the fields and buildings provides an insight into agricultural
practice. The multi-phase character of the site makes it a good source of
information relating to the development of upland settlements and agricultural
techniques.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fox, A, South West England, (1964)
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Eighth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 34, (1902)
Radford, C A R, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Prehistoric Settlements on Dartmoor and the Cornish Moors, , Vol. 18, (1952)
Other
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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