Ancient Monuments

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Two stone hut circles 160m south of Down Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5056 / 50°30'20"N

Longitude: -4.004 / 4°0'14"W

OS Eastings: 257991.096062

OS Northings: 69233.392745

OS Grid: SX579692

Mapcode National: GBR Q2.YHBX

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HQ.HY4

Entry Name: Two stone hut circles 160m south of Down Tor

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008640

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24085

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes two stone hut circles situated on a south facing slope
of Down Tor overlooking the valley of the Narrator Brook. Both stone hut
circles are terraced into the hillside and are composed of stone and earth
walls surrounding circular internal areas. The interior of the western
building measures 7.7m in diameter and the 1.7m wide wall stands up to 1.1m
high. The doorway survives as a gap in the surrounding wall, is lined with
slabs on both sides and faces SSE. The eastern hut lies 3.5m from the first.
The interior measures 4.5m in diameter and is defined by a 1m wide wall
standing up to 0.8m high.

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 two stone hut circles 160m south of Down Tor survive comparatively well
and contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they
lived. As such, it provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age
occupation on the south western part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE485,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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