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Sixty stone hut circles forming part of an unenclosed settlement at Watern Oke

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6335 / 50°38'0"N

Longitude: -4.0311 / 4°1'52"W

OS Eastings: 256452.660399

OS Northings: 83501.505582

OS Grid: SX564835

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.HGCF

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FD.KB9

Entry Name: Sixty stone hut circles forming part of an unenclosed settlement at Watern Oke

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1962

Last Amended: 24 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011559

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20354

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes sixty stone hut circles, three cooking hearths and a
post-medieval storage building situated immediately next to an area of clitter
on a south facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Tavy and forming
part of the large unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke. Of the
sixty hut circles, fifty-one are circular in plan and the internal diameters
of these huts vary from 1.5m to 6.6m. Nine huts are oval in plan, and these
range between 2.4m to 6.4m long and 1.8m to 4.3m wide and stand between 0.5m
and 1.1m high. The average height of all the walls is 0.79m. Thirty-four of
the huts contain hearths, five have porches, two have internal partition
walls, one has a bench and another an annexe. Twenty-nine of the hut circles
are attached to boundary walls. The three cooking hearths consist of small
stone-lined pits containing burnt stone and charcoal. The small storage
building consists of a rectangular single roomed structure with corbelled
walls and a stone lintel roof. The interior of the structure measures 1.2m
long by 0.9m wide and the wall stands up to 1.3m high. This structure is not
large enough to have provided shelter and it is therefore more likely to be a
storage building or cache.

This monument forms the greater part of one of the largest unenclosed stone
hut circle settlements on Dartmoor.

During June and July 1905 fifty-six of the stone hut circles were partially
excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Considerable quantities of
charcoal were found together with cooking stones, pottery and flint artefacts.
Of particular interest was the recovery of a Romano-British glass bead which
suggests more than one period of occupation.
Further stone hut circles probably survive in the area north of the monument,
but these are not included in the scheduling because they are buried below
peat and cannot therefore be identified.

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.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke is one of the largest
on Dartmoor and, despite partial excavation, 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
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 110
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 103
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 107
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 107
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 106-107
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 103
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 109
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 106
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 107-108
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 107
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 111
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 105
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 102-103
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 105-106
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 110
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 104-105
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 104
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906)
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 108
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906)
Other
Attrill, N.J., SX58SE9 - Settlement at Watern Oke with amendments, (1979)
Gerrard, S., Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke - SM 20354, (1991)
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)
Title: Ordnance Survey Map sheet SX 58 SE
Source Date: 1988
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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