Ancient Monuments

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A double stone hut circle forming part of the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6319 / 50°37'54"N

Longitude: -4.0297 / 4°1'46"W

OS Eastings: 256550.39038

OS Northings: 83326.16976

OS Grid: SX565833

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.HGQZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FD.RWF

Entry Name: A double stone hut circle forming part of the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1962

Last Amended: 17 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011564

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20359

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


This monument includes a double stone hut circle situated on a gentle south
facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Tavy and forming part of the
large unenclosed stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke. The hut
circle consists of two rooms defined by stone and earth walls terraced into
the hillslope. The western room measures 6.5m long by 4.5m wide and is defined
by a 1.3m wide wall standing up to 1.3m high. The doorway faces WNW and is
defined on its northern side by a substantial earthfast boulder. The eastern
room measures 4.2m in diameter and the surrounding wall is 1.4m wide and 1m
Excavations carried out by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in June 1905,
revealed hearths at the eastern and northern sides of the western room along
with a pile of cooking stones and a flint artefact. In the eastern room, a
hearth was found against the east wall. This double hut circle forms part of
one of the largest unenclosed stone hut circle settlements on Dartmoor.

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


Books and journals
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, , Vol. 38, (1906), 110-111
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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