Ancient Monuments

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

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6321 / 50°37'55"N

Longitude: -4.0263 / 4°1'34"W

OS Eastings: 256788.877042

OS Northings: 83338.647086

OS Grid: SX567833

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.HHLJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GD.F7M

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

Scheduled Date: 24 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011566

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20361

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 ten stone hut circles situated on a gentle south facing
slope overlooking the River Tavy and forming part of the large unenclosed
stone hut circle settlement at Watern Oke. Of the ten huts, six are circular
in plan and the internal diameters of these huts vary from 2.8m to 4.8m. Three
huts are oval in plan, and these range between 2.8m to 4.2m long and 2m to 3m
wide and stand between 0.5m and 0.8m high. The remaining hut is a two roomed
structure with an oval compartment measuring 2.8m long by 2m wide and a
circular room measuring 2.7m in diameter. The average height of all the walls
is 0.82m.
One hut contains a hearth, six have doorways and one a porch.
This monument forms part of one of the largest unenclosed stone hut circle
settlements on Dartmoor.
During June and July 1905 these stone hut circles were partially excavated by
the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Considerable quantities of charcoal were
found together with cooking, sling and rubbing stones, pottery and flint
artefacts. 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.

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, (1906), 111
Anderson, I K, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Hut Circle Settlement at Watern Oke, (1906), 112
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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