Ancient Monuments

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Agglomerate enclosure and 15 stone hut circles 560m west of Cawsand Beacon

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7065 / 50°42'23"N

Longitude: -3.9406 / 3°56'26"W

OS Eastings: 263065.702715

OS Northings: 91449.571685

OS Grid: SX630914

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.3TSX

Mapcode Global: FRA 27M6.QMH

Entry Name: Agglomerate enclosure and 15 stone hut circles 560m west of Cawsand Beacon

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010791

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24141

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes 15 stone hut circles and an agglomerate enclosure lying
on a north west facing slope of Cawsand Hill (also known as Cosdon Hill)
overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The monument forms part of a discrete
group of settlements lying on the lower slopes of Cawsand and White Hill.
The agglomerate enclosure includes at least three separate enclosed areas,
although a short length of boundary bank within the largest enclosure may
suggest that it was once further subdivided. The earliest enclosure is the
small irregular shaped south western one, which includes a 1.7m wide and 0.5m
high rubble bank surrounding an area measuring 44m north east to south west by
28m north west to south east. The relative dates of the two remaining
enclosures could not be established by earthwork evidence alone. The north
western enclosure is defined by a rubble wall, lynchetted in places,
surrounding an area measuring 60m north to south by 36m east to west. The
boundary wall links four stone hut circles and this strongly suggests that the
huts were built before the enclosure. The eastern enclosure is the largest
within the settlement and measures internally 82m north to south by 67m east
to west. Gaps in the northern and southern circuits of this enclosure may be
original entrances.
Thirteen stone hut circles survive within the agglomerate enclosure and a
further two lie a short distance to the west. These huts are composed of
stone and earth banks surrounding circular internal areas. The internal
diameters of these buildings vary from 3m to 7.3m, with the average being
4.82m. The heights of the surrounding walls vary from 0.4m to 0.8m, with the
average being 0.59m. The interiors of the huts vary in area from 7.06 to
41.82 square metres. Seven of the huts have visible doorways, eight huts are
linked to the enclosure boundary walls and two are attached to the enclosure.

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor
there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though
earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or
as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to
accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size
and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their
particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to
other monument classes 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 agglomerate enclosure and 15 stone hut circles 560m west of Cawsand Beacon
survive well within an area containing a large number of similar monuments.
Deep peat deposits within the settlement protect archaeological remains and
contain environmental evidence relating to the monument, the economy of its
inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. As such, this provides a
valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the north side of
the Moor. The multi-phase character of the settlement will provide information
concerning the changing domestic and agricultural requirements of an upland
Bronze Age society.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 2, (1990), 203
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX69SW46, (1985)
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)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
Plate 16, Greeves, T A P, The Archaeology of Dartmoor from the Air, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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