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Stone hut circle with incorporating prehistoric regular aggregate field system 810m SSE of Carkeet Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Cleer, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5252 / 50°31'30"N

Longitude: -4.5099 / 4°30'35"W

OS Eastings: 222190.069538

OS Northings: 72496.382873

OS Grid: SX221724

Mapcode National: GBR NC.JCDH

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FN.YND

Entry Name: Stone hut circle with incorporating prehistoric regular aggregate field system 810m SSE of Carkeet Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011326

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15254

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 a stone hut circle incorporated within a broadly
contemporary regular aggregate field system on the upper western slope of the
Carkeet Downs bordering the River Fowey valley on south-east Bodmin Moor. A
medieval ditched field bank re-uses part of the field system walling and
crosses its northern sector.
The hut circle survives with a circular wall of heaped rubble and small
boulders, up to 1.6m wide and 0.7m high, defining an internal area 5.8m in
diameter, levelled into the hillslope. The wall has edge-set inner and outer
facing slabs, ranging from 0.1m to 0.6m high, forming contiguous rows over the
eastern and northern sectors of the hut circle.
This hut circle is incorporated within a broadly contemporary prehistoric
regular aggregate field system whose former extent downslope of the monument
has been destroyed by modern pasture improvement. The plots of the field
system are defined by walls of heaped rubble and small boulders, up to 1.75m
wide and 0.4m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs and boulders 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 area of the field system encompasses a sub-rectangular area of
0.83 ha, measuring up to 118m NNW-SSE by 90m WSW-ENE. Two adjoining
prehistoric field plots occupy 0.3 ha in the south-west of that area,
their side walls running upslope to meet a common boundary running along the
contour. The hut circle is located within the northern of these plots,
incorporated into the wall of its north-east corner. The remainder of the
field system is defined by another prehistoric wall running roughly parallel
to these plots' eastern and northern outer walls and 23m-40m beyond them,
considered to reflect a later expansion up and along the slope from the core
area of the adjoining plots. Further prehistoric walling links the field
system's outermost wall with the two core plots at the south-west and northern
corners of the field system.
Medieval enclosure of this periphery of the Carkeet Downs resulted in the
re-use of the southern 75m of the eastern prehistoric field wall for the line
of a field bank, visible as an earth and rubble bank, up to 2m wide and 0.6m
high, accompanied by a ditch, 2m wide and 0.2m deep, along its eastern side.
The bank is surmounted by a quantity of recently dumped boulders resulting
from stone-clearance and drainage on the pasture to the east. The medieval
bank and ditch extend south beyond the monument to join another similar field
bank. At its northern end, the medieval field boundary leaves the prehistoric
wall-line to turn west, downslope, passing through the northern sector of the
prehistoric field system; the bank has recently been levelled over the eastern
55m of this section but re-appears, up to 0.4m high, over its western 25m
before meeting a modern hedgebank.
Beyond this monument, from 35m further north along the hillside, is a broadly
contemporary irregular aggregate field system incorporating a stone hut circle
settlement, while a group of three broadly contemporary funerary cairns is
located on the broad summit of the Carkeet Downs, from 248m to the north-east.
The surface of the modern farm track and the modern heap of dumped boulders
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features
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. Regular 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). Regular aggregate field systems comprise a collection of
field plots defined by boundaries laid out in a consistent manner, along two
axes set at right angles to each other. A single regular aggregate field
system may contain several contiguous blocks of such plots and each block may
differ slightly in the orientation of the axes used in its layout.
Regular 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 stone hut circle in this monument on the Carkeet Downs has survived well,
displaying clearly its architectural details. The surviving walling of the
prehistoric field system, despite being truncated downslope by modern pasture
improvement, demonstrates the manner and successive stages of its layout and
provides important evidence for the broadly contemporary physical and economic
context within which the hut circle operated. The nearby prehistoric irregular
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 about 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, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2272,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1257.01,

Source: Historic England

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