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Partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, a round cairn and a boundary stone 760m WSW of Shell Top

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4559 / 50°27'21"N

Longitude: -3.9846 / 3°59'4"W

OS Eastings: 259217.751372

OS Northings: 63669.832468

OS Grid: SX592636

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.7N9K

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JV.KG9

Entry Name: Partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, a round cairn and a boundary stone 760m WSW of Shell Top

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015749

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28789

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes a partially
enclosed stone hut circle settlement, a round cairn and a post-medieval
boundary stone situated on a south west facing slope overlooking the Whitehill
Yeo and Cholwichtown China Clay Works. The partially enclosed stone hut circle
settlement includes two simple enclosures and ten stone hut circles. The
western enclosure survives as a 44m long by 34m wide area defined by a boulder
wall measuring 1m wide and standing up to 0.8m high, except on the north east
side where no walling is visible. This enclosure may therefore never have been
completed or has been partially robbed. Two stone hut circles lie within this
enclosure and both survive as a stone and earth bank each surrounding a
circular or oval internal area. The eastern enclosure contains one hut and
survives as a 35m long by 22m wide area defined by a boulder wall measuring
1.6m wide and standing up to 0.6m high. A 1m wide gap in the north eastern
sector which is flanked by large faced boulders may represent an original
entrance. Lying outside the enclosures are seven stone hut circles. These all
survive as earth and stone banks each surrounding an internal area which
varies between 3.14 sq m and 24.3 sq m.
The round cairn lies north west of the western enclosure and survives as an
8.5m long (north to south) by 7m wide (east to west) mound standing up to 1.1m
high. Two separate hollows dug into the mound suggest partial early
excavation or robbing. The recumbent post-medieval boundary stone lies at the
WSW foot of the mound and it may have once stood upright on the cairn. This
stone measures 1.55m long by 0.57m wide and is lozenge shaped. On its upper
surface the letters BC, one above the other in the apex at the eastern end are
visible. The letter C could represent Cholwich Town/Manor or Cornwood Parish,
while the B could denote Blandford Manor.
This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 round cairn lying within the settlement is of interest since it is likely
to contain further information concerning the use of this area during the
prehistoric period. Cairns lying within settlements are not uncommon, but they
are likely to provide contrasting information to those found within the well
defined Dartmoor ritual areas. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments
dating to the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 BC). They were constructed as rubble
mounds, may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by
an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual
element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and
longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity
of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.
It is also considered that round cairns have sometimes been used as
contemporary boundary markers and it is therefore perhaps significant that
this particular mound also appears to have been reused as a boundary marker in
the post-medieval period, when a stone was erected at the foot of the mound to
denote some form of territorial boundary.
The partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, round cairn and boundary
stone 760m WSW of Shell Top survive comparatively well and together with a
rich array of nearby features form part of a particularly important multi-
period archaeological landscape.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

Source: Historic England

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