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Stone hut circle settlement with incorporating prehistoric irregular aggregate field system 600m SSE of Carkeet Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Cleer, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5269 / 50°31'36"N

Longitude: -4.5103 / 4°30'36"W

OS Eastings: 222171.630108

OS Northings: 72691.965615

OS Grid: SX221726

Mapcode National: GBR NC.J59P

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FN.YGG

Entry Name: Stone hut circle settlement with incorporating prehistoric irregular aggregate field system 600m SSE of Carkeet Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011324

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15252

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Cleer

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Cleer

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes four out of five stone hut circles forming a hut circle
settlement incorporated within a broadly contemporary irregular aggregate
field system on the upper western slope of the Carkeet Downs bordering the
River Fowey valley on south-east Bodmin Moor.
The hut circle settlement contains a group of five stone hut circles arranged
in a `Y-shaped' pattern over 0.3 hectares of the western slope of the Downs.
The north-western hut circle of the settlement, the lowest on the slope, is
separated from the four hut circles in this monument by a 31m wide area of
modern improved pasture and a sunken farm track and forms the subject of a
separate scheduling.
The settlement's four hut circles in this scheduling are spaced 4.5m-23m apart
and survive with circular or slightly ovoid walls of heaped rubble and small
boulders, up to 1.5m wide and 0.7m high, defining internal areas ranging from
4.5m to 6.25m in diameter, levelled into the hillslope. All of the hut circles
have edge-set inner and outer facing slabs, ranging from 0.1m to 0.6m high,
forming contiguous rows in many sectors of the walling. The hut circle at the
centre of the settlement also has an erect end-set slab, 0.5m high, within its
interior's southern half.
This hut circle settlement is enclosed within the northern of two broadly
contemporary adjoining field plots which have survived from the upper edge of
a prehistoric irregular aggregate field system whose former extent downslope
and north of the monument has been destroyed by modern pasture improvement.
The field plots are defined by walls of heaped rubble and boulders, up to
1.75m wide and 0.7m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs, also up to
0.7m high. Where the walling runs along the contour, its upper side is masked
by an accumulation of soil resulting from the combined effects of cultivation
and gravity on the hillside, a process called lynchetting. The surviving
south-east half of the northern plot, containing the hut circle settlement, is
of sub-rectangular shape, bounded by almost straight prehistoric walls,
enclosing an area of at least 135m NNW-SSE by 100m WSW-ENE. An internal wall
curves south-west from the plot's east wall to join the north-east hut circle
in the settlement. The south-west corner of this plot is indented to
accommodate the northern end of the adjoining southern plot. This is defined
by more sinuous, heavily lynchetted walling enclosing an irregular area
measuring 170m north-south by up to 62m wide above the modern limit of
improvement.
Beyond this monument, from 35m further south along the hillside, is a broadly
contemporary regular aggregate field system incorporating a stone hut circle,
while a group of three broadly contemporary funerary cairns is located on the
broad summit of the Carkeet Downs, from 175m to the east.
The surfaces of the modern farm tracks are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time.

Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the
Moor landscape. Irregular aggregate field systems are one such method of field
layout known to have been employed in south-west England during the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). Irregular aggregate field systems comprise a collection of
field plots, generally lacking in 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.
Irregular aggregate field systems often incorporate or are situated near stone
hut circles, the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly
also dating from the Bronze Age. The stone-based round houses survive as low
walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of a turf or
thatch roof are not preserved as visible features. The huts may occur singly
or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank
of earth and stone.
The settlement's four stone hut circles in this scheduling on the Carkeet
Downs have survived well, displaying clearly their architectural
details. The surviving walling of the prehistoric field system, despite being
truncated downslope by modern pasture improvement, provides important evidence
for the broadly contemporary physical and economic context within which the
well-preserved settlement operated. The nearby prehistoric regular aggregate
field system places this monument in its wider context of prehistoric land
allotment, demonstrating well the nature of farming practices among
prehistoric communities. The proximity of the monument to the cairn group
on the summit of the Carkeet Downs shows well the wider relationship
between settlement, farming and ritual activity during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2272,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SAMR entry for PRN 1257.05,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1257.03 & 1257.05,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257.02,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257.03,

Source: Historic England

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