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Thirty-six stone hut circles and an irregular aggregate field system forming part of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 450m north of Hart Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5349 / 50°32'5"N

Longitude: -4.0025 / 4°0'9"W

OS Eastings: 258178.47073

OS Northings: 72484.816342

OS Grid: SX581724

Mapcode National: GBR Q2.WPPM

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HN.BG9

Entry Name: Thirty-six stone hut circles and an irregular aggregate field system forming part of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 450m north of Hart Tor

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1972

Last Amended: 8 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011174

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22303

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes 36 stone hut circles dispersed within an
irregular aggregate field system situated on a gentle west-facing slope
overlooking the valley of the River Meavy and forming part of a large
unenclosed stone hut circle settlement between Hart Tor and Devil's Bridge.
The stone hut circles are composed of stone and earth banks surrounding an
internal area. Of the 36 hut circles, one is oval in plan and measures
6.3m long by 3m wide. The remaining 35 huts are circular in plan and
the internal diameter of these buildings varies from 2.3m to 7m. The height of
all the walls varies between 0.3m and 1m, with the average being 0.58m. At
least seven of the huts contain hearths, two are conjoined, 21 have
visible doorways, two have porches and five are attached to boundary walls.
Eighteen of the huts were partly excavated in 1895 by the Dartmoor Exploration
Committee. This work recovered large quantities of Bronze Age pottery,
rubbing stones, flint scrapers, pot boilers and charcoal.
The irregular aggregate field system survives as a series of low rubble walls
standing up to 0.5m high. In the northern part of the monument three distinct
field-plots are visible, whilst towards the south a few short lengths of
fragmentary walling suggest that the remains of the field system are more
extensive.
Three 19th century granite rifle range distance markers survive within the
monument. These are included within the scheduling since they provide
important information concerning reuse of this area during the post-medieval
period, and their removal would damage the underlying archaeological deposits.
A further eight stone hut circles forming part of this extensive unenclosed
stone hut circle settlement survive to the south and east of this monument.
These are included in other proposals.
A fragmentary field system lies to the east of the monument, but this is not
included because not enough of the fields are visible to establish their
character and extent.

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.

In addition to the stone hut circles, the monument includes part of an
irregular aggregate field system. Elaborate complexes of fields and field
boundaries are a major feature of the Dartmoor 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. 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. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are
representative of farming practice over a long period.
The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and irregular aggregate field
system between Hart Tor and Devil's Bridge survives comparatively well, and as
partial excavation has demonstrated, important and informative archaeological
structures, features and deposits still survive. Such evidence will provide a
valuable insight into the economy of the site's inhabitants and the landscape
in which they lived.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 189-191
Other
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, Sx57SE20,

Source: Historic England

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